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Hockessin Community News
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  • Wild Meadows residents lose property re-evaluation fight

  • Residents of the Wild Meadows development have lost a fight to have their properties reassessed up to a year early.
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  • Residents of the Wild Meadows development have lost a fight to have their properties reassessed up to a year early. Council defeated the measure by a 5 to 3 vote during their regularly scheduled Monday session.
    The issue came up before a Nov. 12 Legislative, Finance and Administration Committee meeting as Wild Meadows Home Owners Association President Fred A. Neil argued property values had been diminished in the 55-plus community because of the proximity of both the annual Firefly Music Festival and the Calpine Energy Center, now under construction on White Oak Road.
    The 2010 city reassessment, which used data from the 2007-2009 time frame, resulted in higher assessments that what are fair market values for the homes in 2013, Neil said.
    At Monday's meeting, the full council was asked to allow Wild Meadows residents, as a group, to request a reassessment in April 2014 and to consider a change to the city charter to back up that request.
    But several council members seemed resistant to the idea, particularly because the current system already allows property owners to individually appeal their assessments and because of the additional workload an out-of-cycle reassessment would place on the city tax assessor's office. The next reassessment is scheduled for 2015.
    City assessor Cheryl Russell reminded council that city residents, unsatisfied with the outcome of any assessment appeal, have the right to petition the state for an additional review.
    "It's a disappointment, without question," Neil said of the result Tuesday morning,
    "All you have to do is look at the sales record from the times the homes were sold in 2002/2003 and then look at the sales records for homes that have been sold since," Neil said. "It's out of kilter.
    "All we wanted was an assessment and to request a determination if that's fair since the houses are selling at $10,000 to $20,000 below what you've assessed them for."
    Neil said he planned to talk to Lynn, who chairs the Legislative, Finance and Administration Committee and the homeowners' association board before making any additional moves.
    However, Neil said he does not anticipate legal action in the wake of council's decision.
    "It doesn't make sense to pay more than what we'd get back," he said.

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