County Reverses on Revaluation
Acting in accordance with public response, the Moore County commissioners reversed themselves on a property revaluation schedule Monday.
The board voted unanimously to rescind a November decision to schedule revaluation with the 2011 year and instead to follow the eight-year cycle, moving revaluation to 2015. In the meantime, property owners with issues about their valuations have recourse to an appeal system.
"I was stunned by the response I received from the public, and I appreciate their input," said Commissioner Cindy Morgan, who made the motion to rescind the board's November action.
After the meeting, Morgan said that she received numerous calls from constituents who could not understand why the commissioners were willing to spend an estimated $600,000 to complete the revaluation process by 2011. She said they seemed unconcerned that, by switching to the 2015 revaluation, their property values would remain at the same pre-recession heights.
"No one is stuck in their valuation. They do have recourse," said Commissioner Nick Picerno, who made the second to Morgan's motion.
At the November meeting Tax Administrator Wayne Vest reported on the progress his staff has made in preparing for revaluation in 2011. However, much work remains to be done, and he estimated that his office would need at least $600,000 to complete everything needed to implement new values in 2011.
The commissioners debated two sides of the issue, one of which is the question of fairness inasmuch as property values in many parts of the county have tumbled since the last revaluation in 2007.
Under state law counties are required to revalue property at least once every eight years but may, by vote of the commissioners, adopt a cycle of less than eight years, even as frequently as yearly. Because of soaring property values in 2003 and the resulting sticker shock from the change over the eight-year span, the board opted for a four-year revaluation cycle. This had the result of increasing tax collections and reducing the level of sticker shock.
Morgan asked Vest if there is any way he can advise property owners about measures they can take to change property values regarded as unreasonable before the next revaluation.
Vest said he advertises about this recourse and that he would check out other communication measures.
Board Chairman Tim Lea suggested that the tax office post the steps for appeal on the county's newly redesigned Web site.
The vote was a unanimous 4-0. Commissioner Jimmy Melton was absent because he is recuperating from surgery.
"Any time we have the opportunity to save $600,000 for the taxpayers, it's a good thing," said Lea after the vote.
For more on this story, see the print edition of The Pilot.
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