The owners of 620 properties in West Bethlehem have asked Lehigh County to review their property reassessments.
According to information provided by Lehigh County, 550 of the properties are residential, 62 are commercial and eight are vacant.
Reviews have been requested for 13,644 properties countywide.
"We won't really know until we get into it" as to why people want reviews, said Tom Muller, the county's director of administration. Also, he said, The Morning Call’s computer analyses of properties had a glitch and incorrectly tabulated the tax burden on a number of residential properties, which could have generated more requests.
Property owners had until Friday, March 23, to request a review, after the county extended the deadline. Lehigh County will schedule the reviews for mid-March through mid-June.
The reviews will be fact-finding sessions. Property owners will meet with an assessor and make their case for a lower reassessment, if, for example, they are seeking a lower tax burden. The assessor can address how the property values were derived and discuss the property owner's issues with the reassesment.
Muller has said that in most cases, the assessor will not make a final decision. An on-site visit may be necessary. He said property owners will get a formal decision in writing and may opt to go to a formal appeal.
Muller said the county is considering the possibility of having commercial reviews go directly to formal appeal.
An analysis provided by county officials earlier this year showed that 51.8 percent of West Bethlehem properties will see taxes increase while 48.2 percent will see taxes decreased once the reassessment is complete in 2013.
Of those on the West Side who will see their county taxes raised, more than half will see an increase of 10 percent or less and more than 80 percent will have an increase of 20 percent or less. On the flip side, 21 West Bethlehem homes will see county taxes increase by more than 50 percent.