Real Estate Update: Sussex County Agrees to Complete General Reassessment of Real Property in Time for Fiscal Year 2025 Property Tax Bills

April 15, 2021

Publication| Real Estate Services

In a further development regarding the In re Delaware Public Schools Litigation, C.A. No. CV 2018-0029-VCL (County Track), on April 14, 2021, the Delaware Court of Chancery granted a Stipulation and Order requiring that Sussex County complete a general reassessment of all real property in the county and that such reassessed values be placed on the assessment roll used to issue property tax bills in fiscal year 2025 (i.e., July 1, 2024).  Every property in Sussex County will be evaluated by assessors who will update each property’s value under current real estate market conditions.  This process will likely result in a large number of assessment appeals from property owners across Sussex County.

As with the Stipulations and Orders entered in this matter pertaining to New Castle County and Kent County, this Stipulation and Order only requires a single reassessment of the property, and does not provide any obligation to or framework for Sussex County to conduct future reassessments.  During this process, the defendant, Gina Jennings, Finance Director for Sussex County, must provide quarterly written progress reports on the reassessment to the plaintiffs, Delawareans for Educational Opportunity and NAACP Delaware Conference of Branches.

If Sussex County exercises best efforts to complete the reassessment by the July 1, 2024 deadline but fails to do so for reasons beyond its control, Ms. Jennings may seek an extension.  However, if Sussex County fails to undertake good faith efforts to complete the general reassessment by the deadline, the plaintiffs can bring an expedited proceeding before the Delaware Court of Chancery.

With this Stipulation and Order regarding Sussex County, and similar Stipulations and Orders regarding New Castle County and Kent County, all three of Delaware’s counties have agreed to Stipulations and Orders regarding the real property reassessment deadline.

Regarding New Castle County’s agreement to conduct a reassessment of real property, on March 9, 2021, the New Castle County Council adopted ordinance number 21-104.  This ordinance allocates $26,640,000 from the General Fund Tax Stabilization Reserve Account to the General Fund Reassessment Reserve Account, an account to specifically fund New Castle County’s reassessment effort.

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