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County Commissioners Postpone Countywide Revaluation One Year

Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - The New Hanover County Board of Commissioners voted to postpone the next countywide property revaluation by one additional year until January 1, 2017.
According to the County Tax office, the last countywide revaluation was completed on January 1, 2012. Upon completing that revaluation, they found that a lot of their adjustments made afterwards were due to data corrections.
After further investigation they found that the last time all properties were visited for "data verification" was in 1991. There are approximately 95,000 parcels of land within the County.
In preparation for the next revaluation the tax office is planning on having staff members and employees with a private contractor visit all properties and make necessary corrections to ensure a more thorough reappraisal.
Tax Administrator Roger Kelley requested the Board of Commissioners approve of a resolution to postpone the revaluation by an additional year during their May 6, meeting.
Kelley said, "At least one portion of the visit, we will be remeasuring all of the properties to make sure those are correct. In that process, naturally we are not going to visit 95,000 improved parcels and catch somebody at every parcel while we are there. In that process we are going to put a door hanger on the door if nobody is there, if a young person is there, parents aren't at home, whatever. We will leave a door hanger and on that door hanger we will ask for specific information about the inside of the house, the number of bedrooms, baths, this type of information. Also, we will have a link on there that they can go on to our website and get a summary property record card."
Kelley said, "Also, part of the plan is to get out press releases as we go into different areas. We are not going to just send one person in Porters Neck and another person in Castle Hayne and another person in Kure Beach or wherever. We are going to canvass certain areas at a time so we are going to try to get the information out so folks in those areas will know we are coming through and if they have any questions or get a door hanger... they can contact us and we will still be in the area and can make recall visits if we need to."
He explained it will take through 2016 to complete the revaluation process. It will give their staff 25 property visits per day based on a three-day week because they still have to cover new construction, vacation, sick days and other routine work throughout the week.
The County is required by state law to conduct a revaluation at least every eight years. More frequently if the County Commissioners decide a revaluation is needed.
The law does not require a property owner to permit county staff to enter their home. Homeowners can invite them into the building.
Kelley said the Department of Revenue advises not to enter the building due to liability issues.
He said they may ask if someone has finished an area over their garage or made other improvements that would increase the value of their property.
The Board adopted the resolution unanimously.
Revaluation is a systematic, in depth process using a Computer Aided Mass Appraisal (CAMA) system to reappraise or reassess all real
property in the County to the current market value. (Appraised value and assessed value can be used interchangeably in North Carolina because property is required to be assessed at 100% of its appraised value.)
The real estate market is one of constant change caused by the freedom we have to buy and sell property. This change can vary greatly depending on a property's size, type and location. This can
create an inequitable situation in the level of assessment among owners of property and inequity among differing types of property.
The longer this situation exists, the more unjust it becomes. The end result is an unfair tax burden on those properties which have an assessed value close to the actual
market value compared to those properties whose assessed value is well below market value. The relationship between assessed, or tax value, and market value is called the sales/assessment ratio.
A countywide revaluation is an enormous and complex task. Field inspections are conducted, sales files are developed and analyzed
and market trends continually monitored. Contacts are made with property owners, local realtors, building contractors, building suppliers and home lending institutions, all for the purpose of being as knowledgeable as possible about property values.
Following the real estate market rise in the mid-2000's, the 2007 revaluation brought drastically increased property values.
For the 2012 revaluation, the downturn in the market brought decreased property values.
In any case, local governments issue a revenue neutral tax statement of what tax rate would generate the same amount of revenue collected the year prior to the revaluation. That helps avoid windfalls when values go up and a loss of revenues when values decline.