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Commissioners talk taxes, lost revenues

Lycoming County has 51,993 taxable parcels with an assessed value of more than $5.7 billion.

Of the parcels, 2,016 are tax exempt with an assessed value of about $1 billion, according to figures released at Tuesday’s county commissioners meeting.

With next year’s county tax rolls up for certification, commissioners questioned what can be done to recoup some of the lost revenues.

The tax appeals process allowing

properties to be assessed at lower values not only can dilute the tax base, but often shifts the tax burden onto others including those who cannot afford it, Commissioner Tony Mussare noted.

Many of those appeals are done by businesses and can include big box retail stores.

“We are talking primarily businesses,” Mussare said.

Commissioner Rick Mirabito noted that UPMC Susquehanna, while a non-profit entity, is not completely tax exempt.

It would be interesting to know, he said, what parts of the health system are taxable.

“We may need an audit,” he said.

Mussare noted that more than 5,000 properties in the county are delinquent with taxes.

Many of those properties, he said, are owned by senior citizens on fixed incomes.

“This is a major burden on our seniors,” he said.

Mirabito said the county can somewhat ease the burden by keeping in check its spending practices and tax increases.

The county payroll, he said, is among the big expenses of county government.

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