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Commonwealth Court sends Harley-Davidson tax assessment case back to York County

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A Commonwealth Court ruling is sending a tax dispute involving Harley-Davidson Motor Co. back to York County over the assessed value of property for 2004-10 tax years.

The Springettsbury Township site, with years of history manufacturing Harley motorcycles, has also been used in its past as a military ordnance facility.

At issue has been how environmental conditions properly figure into establishing its value.

A ruling issued from the York County Court of Common Pleas put valuations at between $18 million and $26.5 million, depending on the tax years, according to the Commonwealth Court filing.

But the order says the York County ruling did not adequately state its reasoning for the value determinations, according to the document.

It also should not have used a 5 percent devaluation factor based on stigma, the court said. In addition, the trial court should determine the property’s assessed value without “impermissibly subdividing” it, the document stated.

A person who testified as a real estate appraisal expert for Harley came to lower values, according to the document.

Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson Inc. had considered pulling out of York County in 2009 but instead decided to stay and restructure and also agreed to sell a western portion of its property to the York County Industrial Development Authority.

Harley consolidated local operations in Springettsbury Township into a newer facility.

Brent Burkey

Brent Burkey

Brent Burkey covers York County, agribusiness, energy and environment, and workforce issues. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at brentb@cpbj.com. Follow him on Twitter, @brentburkey.

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