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Revaluation appeals go on through next week

By Karissa Minn
kminn@salisburypost.com
SALISBURY ó Rowan County property owners can continue to appeal their new tax values through the end of next week.
According to Barbara McGuire, the Rowan County Board of Equalization and Review has heard hundreds of appeals so far. It began meeting early this month and will continue to take requests for appeals until May 6.
ěThey look at everything people bring in, and they listen to them,î said Barbara McGuire, county real and personal property manager. ěSometimes we go over our time frame, but people just want to be heard and have their say about their value.î
McGuire said about 400 to 500 cases had been heard by the board as of Wednesday, and she estimated that 200 to 400 more are scheduled.
Earlier this year, McGuire predicted the board would hear up to 4,000 cases, due to a struggling economy that lowered average values but not by as much as some thought. Far fewer appeals have come in than predicted, though, since the values were sent out March 1.
McGuire said the seven-member board comes from a pool of 30 Rowan County residents appointed by the Rowan County Board of Commissioners. The members apply as they would for any other county board.
The county assessorís office met with potential members and narrowed down the list based on a number of factors, including availability, experience on the board and geographic location.
ěTheyíre ordinary people… and theyíre from all over the county,î McGuire said. ěWe try to get people to represent all areas of the county.î
Members of the 2011 board of equalization and review are Hugh Blackburn, Boyd Barr, Gordon Correll, M.D. Ford, Jim Honeycutt, Robert Roakes and Mike Upright. They rotate the chairmanship each week.
Roakes, a retired Salisbury resident, worked in banking for 34 years. He is one of five members serving on the board of equalization and review for the second time since the 2007 revaluation.
ěIíve enjoyed being on there, because itís a part of public service,î he said. ěI think most of the members enjoy doing community service to the county.î
During each hearing, the board looks at the facts submitted by the county and the appealing property owner.
Most of those appealing already have been through the countyís informal appeals process, so the board will determine whether to uphold or change the countyís decision.
ěWe are neutral, and we try to be an independent board,î Roakes said.
Requests for a hearing with the board of equalization and review may be made through May 6 by calling the revaluation section at 704-216-8586 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or faxing a request to 704-642-2050. Actual times and dates will be advertised in the Post.
People can appeal their property tax values directly to the board even if they did not submit an informal appeal.
A property owner can help make his or her case with 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 and Roakes both said some applicants arenít submitting important evidence. A property owner arguing that a home value is wrong because of recent damage or remodeling, for example, should bring clear photos to back it up.
ěIn a lot of the appeals, theyíre not bringing pictures,î Roakes said. ěThat really helps us to have that.î
He said if a soil perk test shows that a property cannot support a septic tank for a house, those test results should be submitted.
The board will continue to hear any appeals left after May 6 before adjourning. It then will send notices to all appealing property owners notifying them of the boardís decision.
For more information, call 704-216-8586.

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