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Revaluations set to arrive this week Bookmark and Share Revaluations set to arrive this week Bookmark and Share Revaluations set to arrive this week Bookmark and Share Revaluations set to arrive this week

By Karissa Minn
kminn@salisburypost.com
Revaluation notices will be mailed out Tuesday and begin arriving in Rowan County mailboxes this week, letting property owners know how much the county thinks their homes and businesses are worth.
Staff at the county assessorís office are anticipating between 10,000 and 12,000 informal appeals of the new values, said Barbara McGuire, the countyís real and personal property manager.
County Tax Administrator Jerry Rowland said many property owners are expecting values to go down, but the real estate market here has been a bit steadier than elsewhere. Values might be higher than people expect.
Residents who donít agree with the county about what their property is worth can submit an informal appeal by filling out the form attached to the revaluation notice. (The top portion should be saved, especially when requesting an appeal.)
The more documentation property owners give for their reasons, the better.
ěPlease donít say itís too high or it didnít go down enough,î McGuire said. ěActually give us some data.î
That can include a complete appraisal report from within the past two years, a recent sale listing with asking price or a list of addresses of nearby homes that the property owner thinks are similar in value.
McGuire said it can help to tell the county if there have been foreclosures in the area, because it isnít allowed to include them in its revaluation data. If the property is in a floodplain or the property is substandard in some way, that also is good to include.
When setting values, the assessorís office already accounts for regular home maintenance and repair, but significant damage can lower a propertyís value.
ěPhotos are good for a quick resolution,î McGuire said. ěMaybe we werenít able to see the basement flooding.î
The assessorís office will work continuously over the next few weeks to look over data in the informal requests for review and respond.
Staff members will compare similar properties to make sure the value. If a propertyís description is said to be wrong, they may visit the site to correct it.
Then, the assessorís office will send back a response letter with either the same property value or an adjusted one.
That letter will include a number to call if recipients want to begin a formal appeal to the Board of Equalization and Review, which will convene on April 4 and continue hearings for at least two months. About 8 percent of informal appeals in Rowan County typically move on to a formal review, but this is not a typical year. The county is bracing for a number from 10 percent to 15 percent.
ěThe state is inundated with a lot of appeals, so theyíre really pushing for the county to work through them faster,î Rowland said. ěWeíll push as hard as we can and still afford everybody the right to be heard.î
Residents who appeal to the board should be ready to support their challenge, and the assessorís office can help them gather information.
ěRemember, those are private citizens in Rowan County, and they didnít make the values,î Rowland said. ěWhen a property owner comes before the board, the property owner is responsible to give information to board members and not the reverse.î
When the Board of Equalization and Review is done with all its hearings, it will send out notices announcing what it has decided. If they still arenít satisfied, property owners will then have 30 days to appeal to the North Carolina Property Tax Commission.
Property owners are not required by law to pay taxes during an appeals process, McGuire said, but waiting will add interest to the full bill amount.
To avoid this, they can pay their tax bill in full and get a refund if their assessed value is lowered, or they can pay taxes on what they argue the property is worth and settle the difference later.
Rowan County is expecting less money from those bills in fiscal year 2012, because the tax base is expected to decrease by 2.9 percent to $11.5 billion.
To keep the current revenue level, county commissioners could increase the tax rate by 2.58 cents ó from 59.5 to 62.08 cents per $100 in assessed value.
Commissioners have said theyíre concerned that will be too much for struggling county residents, especially added to a planned 1.25-cent increase to fund a $12 million bond for Rowan-Cabarrus Community College.
Salisbury City Council passed a resolution last week asking the county to delay revaluation. The Spencer Board of Aldermen also considered the resolution this past week but did not approve it.
Last fall, commissioners considered a delay but voted to move forward. They say itís too late to stop the process, and the county must now do the best it can to help its residents in this economy.
Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.

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