2018 Property Value Appeal – Public Hearing Notice
Date Posted: Tuesday, November 7th, 2017
The Milton Town Council, sitting as the Board of Appeals, will hear Property Value Appeals on Wednesday, January 17, 2018 at the Milton Public Library, 121 Union Street, Milton, DE 19968 at 6:30 p.m.
Any taxable person or entity may submit a property value appeal by filing a completed Property Value Appeal Form at Town Hall no later than 5:00 p.m. on January 2, 2017. The application must state the reason or reasons for the appeal. Once such form has been filed, the Town of Milton shall notify the appellant of the date, time and location of the hearing via certified mail.
A current list of the Town of Milton property value assessments may be viewed at Town Hall, 115 Federal Street, Milton, DE 19968 or as linked here: Assessed Value Listing
The Delaware Constitution mandates that there be uniformity in tax assessments. There is no requirement, however, that “all taxes be assessed with computer precision against all taxpayers equally… but rather, merely requires that all taxpayers of the same class residing within the tax district be treated equally.”
In valuing real estate, there is a strong preference in Delaware for the use of present market value; however, Delaware courts have recognized and upheld use of a “base year” valuation.
Regarding the burden of proof, a prima facie case of accuracy is made by the assessment record. The burden of presenting evidence to meet the prima facie case and to rebut the presumption rests upon the property owner. To fulfill the purpose, the owner’s evidence must not only be competent; it must be sufficient to show a substantial overvaluation. Delaware law permits a property owner to give their opinion as to the value of the real estate, as well as to present witnesses or other evidence. The weight to be given to the owner’s testimony, or any other evidence presented to the Board of Appeals, is within the discretion of the Board’s discretion. If rebutted by such evidence, the presumption in favor of the accuracy of the assessment ceases to exist, and the municipality must present evidence supporting its valuation.
If a taxpayer presents evidence of substantial overvaluation, based upon a valuation technique generally acceptable in the financial community, the Board should hear the entire appeal. The municipality is free to use different valuation methodologies and to present evidence and argument in support of its position that the taxpayer’s valuation is unreliable or otherwise inaccurate. The Board must use its expertise to evaluate the competing methodologies; make an informed judgment as to which is more persuasive; and state the reasons for its decision. The Board cannot act contrary to law, fraudulently, arbitrarily or capriciously. On appeal to Superior Court, the Court may overturn the Board if the Board’s findings are clearly wrong and its conclusions not the product of an orderly and logical deductive process.