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REAL ESTATE: Over past five years, PENGUIN PARTY: Fifty-degree the way appraisals are ordered has changed: middleman appraisal companies are now used. What this means for consumers PAGE 35 ocean, 60-degree temps and nearly 1,000 people sure make for a good time! Just ask organizers of the AGH Penguin Swim PAGE 41 INSIDE THIS ISSUE: BUSINESS . . . . . . . . . 34 CLASSIFIED . . . . . . . . 52 ENTERTAINMENT . . . . 45 LEGALS . . . . . . . . . . . 32 LIFESTYLE . . . . . . . . . 41 OPINION . . . . . . . . . . . 16 OUT&ABOUT . . . . . . . . 48 SPORTS . . . . . . . . . . . 37 SEAHAWKS CRUSH CRISFIELD CRABBERS IN 68-53 VICTORY…PAGE 37 Ocean City Today JANUARY 6, 2012 WWW.OCEANCITYTODAY.NET FREE Reduced property assessments mailed to resort residents “Petitions for review used to be a very rare thing. They have become much more popular because the market is down.” ROBERT SMITH state assessor for Worcester County Values decline for nearly every parcel, leaving resort looking at$6million hole TOM RISEN ■ Staff Writer (Jan. 6, 2012) Ocean City property owners started the new year with good and bad tidings, depending on how they feel about having a lower property assessment. On the one hand, a lower assessment reflects a possible loss in value, while on the other, it could mean a bit of a tax break. Either way, the new assessments were mailed out around Dec. 28 and nearly all of them are lower than in 2009. According to Robert Smith, the state assessor for Worcester County, the value of 97 percent of properties being assessed are going down, in part because of the number of unoccupied condos in the resort. Assessments on all residential units and commercial properties north of 25th Street are included in tax bills for 2012. Smith expected to hear from people about their assessments now that the first working week of 2012 is over following the holidays. He said the number of peti- tions for review submitted since December suggest the possibility that a more energetic real estate market is on the horizon, since most of the owners asking for a review contend their prop- erty is worth more than the assessment shows. “At least 8 out of 10 petitions for review, people wrote that they thought their property was greater than final assessed value,” Smith said. “Petitions for review used to be a very rare thing. They have become much more popular because the market is down.” Assessments on properties are done every three years by the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation. Next year, the rest of the northern end See CYMEK on Page 3 City recalculates stormwater fee to make it fair for all property owners TOM RISEN ■ Staff Writer MORNING GLORY PHOTO COURTESY ROBIN HARRISON While many were up early to make final preparations for the 18th annual Penguin Swim, to benefit Atlantic General Hospital, in uptown Ocean City, a few others visited the more serene downtown area on New Year’s Day. Those on the beach near the pier captured this spectacular sunrise. (Jan. 6, 2012) A proposed annual fee to pay for stormwater renovations in Ocean City is being tweaked to make the cost fairer for condominium owners. The goal of the fee on impervious surfaces of a property is to raise $1.2 million each year to keep up with the $12 million in stormwater management costs the city would pay over the next decade, according to the Stormwater Feasability study conducted by the University of Maryland Environmental Finance Center. By completing a backlog of 50 projects to repair storm drains, pipes, and catch basins, the city could avoid polluting the ocean and bays with runoff from paved surfaces, according to a presentation during a council meeting on Nov. 1, by Joanne Throwe, director of the See CITY on Page 3

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