Last updated: February 16. 2013 6:45PM - 1619 Views

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Garry Denke went before the Luzerne County Board of Tax Assessment Appeals on Thursday with evidence that his Butler Township property is assessed too high.

His appraisal pegged the market value on the house and an adjoining vacant parcel at a combined $92,900.

The current assessment totals $219,700 on the parcels.

Denke said the exterior is attractive, but the property needs a new structural support system because of its proximity to Nescopeck Creek. The house on Nesco Manor Road near the former Angela Park also regularly sustains basement flooding, he said.

"It has the highest assessed value on Nesco Road," Denke said.

Denke was among 31 property owners who went before the appeal board Thursday and an expected 1,000 who will challenge their assessments for 2013.

Sept. 4 is the deadline to file assessment appeals.

County council-appointed appeal board members Neil Allen, Donald Warren and Patrick Musto jointly listened to evidence presented by property owners.

A county assessment office evaluator also attends each hearing to point out relevant details that may be overlooked or ignored by property owners.

The board deliberates behind closed doors after each hearing and issue a ruling within several weeks.

Appraisals are the evidence of choice, though appeal board members said they will consider any documentation from property owners.

A Black Creek Township man brought photographs Thursday showing past fire damage to a structure he purchased for $10,000 in December.

Though a reduction may be granted for 2013, a county evaluator cautioned the property will be revalued when the man completes his planned renovations.

A Wilkes-Barre couple presented photographs showing flooding of their two properties.

Another Wilkes-Barre property owner said she purchased her West Carey Street property for $40,000 in May and said similar properties in the neighborhood have assessments in the $80,000 range. The property is assessed at $99,700.

A Hollenback Township woman presented an appraisal valuing her two parcels at $88,000 in 2010. The properties are assessed at a combined $96,900.

How to appeal

Assessment appeal forms are available in the assessor's office or on the county website, www.luzernecounty.org (click on departments/assessor's office).

Property owners who don't want to pay for an appraisal may research the sales prices and assessments of similar properties in their neighborhood on The Times Leader's free property database at www.timesleader.com (click on the "tax assess" icon under the most popular links on the main page). The database allows searches by streets.

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