Property taxes are rising in all but one school district in Luzerne County
Eleven of Luzerne County’s 12 school districts raised property taxes for the 2018-19 fiscal year, according to new county assessment office records.
The Northwest Region School District is the only exception, with a tax rate remaining at 10.7452 mills.
A mill represents $1 of tax on every $1,000 of assessed value of real estate.
For example, the owner of a $100,000 property would pay $1,074.52 in school taxes in the Northwest region (the assessment divided by 1,000 multiplied by 10.7452).
Increases in other districts, along with their new total mileage rates:
• Wyoming Valley West, 0.76 miles/16.75 miles
• Hazleton area, 0.6549 mile/10.5559 mile
• Hanover region, 0.5976 mill/18.1747 mill
• Wilkes-Barre area, 0.593 mile/18.0364 mile
• Crestwood, 0.5418 miles/10.3899 miles
• Wyoming Region, 0.5129 miles/16.4496 miles
• Pittston area, 0.4955 miles/15.982 miles
• Lac-Lehman, 0.4299 miles/11.0345 miles
• Greater Nanticoke area, 0.4139 miles/11.9113 miles
• Dallas, 0.2015 million/13.6338 million
• Berwick area, 0.13 mile/10.85 mile
While Wyoming Valley West’s hike is the highest, the percentage increase is highest in the Hazleton area – 6.6% – followed by Crestwood with 5.5%.
To put these increases into perspective, however, it should be noted that the Hazleton and Crestwood area still has the lowest tax rates among the 12 districts.
The Hannover region has the highest rate, followed closely by the Wilkes-Barre region.
Officials in districts with hikes cited a range of reasons, according to published reports.
For example, the Wyoming region’s business consultant blamed the increase on lost revenue due to property assessment reductions and rising health insurance costs. At Lake-Lehman, the business leader pointed to higher spending on health care, wages and early retirement benefits.
School taxes represent the largest share of property tax bills.
County taxes are an additional 5.9754 mills.
Municipal rates range from zero in Slocum Township to a high of 6.85 mills in Pittston.
With all three combined — school, county and municipal — the highest tax rate is in Hanover Township, where homeowners pay 29.6501 mills, or $2,965 on a property valued at $100,000.
Combined tax rates exceed 28 mills in five other municipalities: Plymouth, 29.4454; Ashley, 29.0001; Pittston, 28.8074; Sugar notch, 28.6501; and Forty Fort, 28.3154.
In contrast, Slocum Township has the lowest combined tax rate – 16.3653 mills – largely due to the lack of municipal taxes and Crestwood’s ranking as the lowest school mileage. Township officials said they are trying to survive on state funding of liquid fuels and payroll tax revenue.
Jeddo, Nuangola, Penn Lake Park and the townships of Dennison and Rice also have combined rates ranging from 16.6253 to 16.9653 mils. All but Jeddo are in the Crestwood District.
A breakdown of all property taxes in each municipality is posted on the assessment page at www.luzernecounty.org.
Wilkes-Barre’s tax rate cannot be compared to others because city officials decided to retain their own old assessments after the countywide reassessment that went into effect in 2009. The mileage rate of the city is 141.33 for municipal taxes because the assessments are lower and unrelated. at current market value.
City officials discussed switching to county assessments, which are used by all other taxing agencies, but backed off after an analysis concluded residential property owners would be hit hardest, a representative said.