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Mecklenburg County Set to Begin Revaluation Do-Over

by Kevin Baker, Atlanta, September 2013

 

Commissioners in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina have a busy month ahead. They must appoint a new county assessor, hire a consulting firm to conduct a new countywide revaluation, and get the ball rolling on reassessing every parcel in the county.

 

The tight schedule was ordered by Session Law 2013-362, which gives the county only 18 months to completely redo the 2011 revaluation.

 

New Notices - New Appeals

 

Interim county manager Bobbie Shields says the county will review values of each of Mecklenburg's 356,000 parcels by neighborhood. "Our plan is to send new notices to all property owners in the county," Shields said.

 

Some owners will get tax refunds and some will get a new bill with taxes due. There will be problems for owners of properties that have changed hands because the notices automatically go to the owner on record as of January 1, 2011.

 

If property owners do not agree with the values on their new notices, they can file an appeal. Settlements made with previous appeals to the Board of Equalization and Review (BER) and the state Property Tax Commission (PTC) could be subject to change. The PTC has put Mecklenburg hearings on hold while values remain in limbo.

 

Start from Scratch

 

State Senator Jeff Tarte, one of the authors of Session Law 2013-362, said Mecklenburg can't merely "review" values from the 2011 revaluation.

 

"It's not good enough to go back and spot clear things up. They've got to do the whole revaluation completely over," he said, "pretending that 2011 revaluation never happened. It's the only way to get accurate values for all properties."

 

Resources Strained

 

The revaluation do-over now becomes a budget issue for both Mecklenburg County and area towns. They'll have to come up with the money to pay refunds for owners whose property was over assessed.

 

"We have no idea how much this might cost the county," Bobbie Shields said. "But we are committed to making sure we do it the right way."

 

Commissioners have already approved $1.062 million to pay for additional county personnel required during the next nine months. Shields says the county ultimately needs to hire an additional 10 appraisers to meet the industry standard of one appraiser for every 10,000 parcels before another revaluation is conducted in 2015.