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Chatham county moving forward with property revaluation in 2013

Posted Friday, September 9, 2011

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Pittsboro, NC - Chatham County Tax Office presented information to the Board of Commissioners on Sept. 6, 2011 on the next scheduled revaluation of real estate property, presenting options for either proceeding with the current plan to revalue property in 2012-13 or delaying it one or more years. The commissioners unanimously decided to continue the revaluation on schedule, with work underway the next 16 months and taking effect in the 2013-14 budget year.

“Either option has major impact on our property owners and county government. Delaying means that many property owners would continue to have higher valuations than they should. We realize that proceeding on schedule means that the Board of Commissioners may face difficult decisions if overall property tax revenues decline as much as we expect when values are adjusted,” said Commissioner Chairman Brian Bock.

Revaluation is a process to update assessed tax values of real property in the county to keep values consistent with what the property is worth in the current market at a specific time. Revaluation covers residential, commercial and industrial property, including land and structures. It does not include personal property, such as motor vehicles, boats and business machinery and equipment.

The state requires counties to revalue property at least every eight years to ensure better equity of values. Chatham is one of forty counties that revalue every four years.

Tax Assessor Tina Stone said that a major benefit the four-year revaluation schedule in the past was reducing the “sticker shock” increase in values that had typically occurred when the economy was booming. Even though the market has changed, the four-year cycle still means that valuations more accurately reflect the recent selling prices of similar properties in the area. This is a key reason that the NC Department of Revenue recommends proceeding with revaluation on schedule in 2013.

Stone said that delaying revaluation would have had a downside for the county. “We would continue to see an increasing number of property owners appealing their current tax valuations because market values have dropped.” The appeals require substantial staff and taxpayer time.

The main advantage of delaying revaluation one or more years would be ensuring a fairly level tax base for the county. Unless the housing market recovers soon, the expected decline in overall values is expected to put the Board of Commissioners in the position of making further cuts in county programs and services, finding other revenues to make up the difference or increasing property tax rates.

 
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