2 Delaware County School Districts Entitled to $600,000 in Uncollected Revenue From Billboard Land Value

David Bjorkgren
The property tax case included this Neumann University billboard, one of 23 along I-95. Image via Donald Weiss, The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Two Delaware County school districts are owed retroactively $600,000 in tax revenue from the increased accessed value of property where 20 billboards stand along I-95 and Rt. 322, writes Harold Brubaker for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently upheld a 2018 lower court decision that the Chester Upland and Chichester School Districts are entitled to the money because the rent paid by billboard companies to the property owners was not included in the assessed value of the properties where the billboards sat.

The decision means the two districts should collect a total of $200,000 a year from the parcels of land, retroactive for three years.

“Unanimous by Commonwealth Court, unanimous by Supreme Court. Not too shabby,” said Donald J. Weiss, a Delaware County lawyer representing the two districts.

Weiss came up with the idea in 2013 that the income stream from a billboard should be reflected in the assessed value of the land it sits on. His opponents called the legal maneuver “creative.”

The case has worried some that other tax exemptions for silos, amusement park rides and wind turbines could be scrutinized as well.

Read more about this court decision concerning billboard revenue for 2 local school districts here.

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