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Rowan County tax revaluation signals strong economy

SALISBURY — The staff at the Rowan County Tax Assessor’s Office is hard at work completing this year’s revaluation, a process that happens once every four years.

The effort assigns dollar values to all real property in the county using parameters set by the North Carolina General Assembly.

With more than 80,000 parcels to apply value to, according to Barbara McGuire, the county’s real and personal property manager, it’s hard to make any predictions just yet about which areas will see the greatest increases or decreases in values.

But County Manager Aaron Church said Rowan will likely see a larger increase in values than during the last revaluation in 2015 — when values were flat or only changed slightly.

“I’m confident in that,” Church said. “The cost of housing is going up. The cost of materials to build things is going up. … Even at the federal level, interest rates are going up. Everything’s gone up.”

When the costs of labor and materials increase, property values follow, he said, and all are a sign of an improving economy.

“Things are going well in Rowan County,” Church said. “It’s going to be a good year for citizens and everyone that lives in the county because, in general, the value of things has gone up.”

Church said that property valuation is influenced by a combination of variables, one being geographical. Areas of the county where there’s growth and demand could see increases, for example, he said.

Residents can expect updated valuation notices by mail in mid- to late February. Church said an increase or decrease in value does not necessarily signal a change in the amount of property taxes paid. That will come later during the annual budgeting process. Church could, for example, present a revenue-neutral tax rate — one that would keep the county’s property tax revenue equal to that of the previous budget year.

“That doesn’t mean that the recommended tax rate will be the revenue-neutral rate,” he said. “We don’t know what the tax rate is going to be recommended to be.”

Tax bills will be sent in the summer after a rate is approved by the county commissioners.

All residents will have the opportunity to appeal a property tax valuation if they feel it is inaccurate, Church said.

“This is a process done by humans,” he said. “There’s always room for errors and mistakes, especially when you’re talking about the stuff that we’re looking at.”

Errors could be as simple as the wrong square footage of a home or a home addition that has not been added in county records.

These small errors can be handled locally by the tax assessor staff, though more controversial appeals could go as far as Raleigh to the state Property Tax Commission.

“Normally it doesn’t go that far,” Church said.

Information about the appeals process will be included with revaluation notices.

Contact reporter Andie Foley at 704-797-4246.

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