Property values drop,
but tax rate will rise
By Nancy Lindsey
Patrick County's real estate tax value and tax base have decreased by an average of 13%, Fred Pearson of Pearson's Appraisal Services told the Patrick County Board of Supervisors Monday night.
Pearson said the reassessment was based on available property sales in Patrick County in 2014.
Decreases in real estate values ranged from 7% for private dwellings to 50% for large tracts of woodland of 70 acres or more.
Notices of the new values are scheduled to be mailed to taxpayers Nov. 6.
The lowering of values does not mean lower taxes, however; instead, the board of supervisors will have to raise the tax rate to produce approximately the same amount of revenue as in the previous year before reassessment.
"I figure we'll have to raise it to 54 cents per $100 to be revenue-neutral," said Peters Creek District Supervisor Lock Boyce.
Blue Ridge District Supervisor Karl Weiss said he wanted everyone to understand that "taxes are not going down, they're going up."
"Your home may be worth less but you'll be paying more," Weiss said. "It seems so unfair--somebody with 50 acres gets a 50% reduction and your home only gets reduced 7%."
Pearson said real estate sales have dropped overall, leading to the following changes in assessed values: building sites, mountain building sites and lot residential sites have been reduced by an average of 20%; dwellings have been reduced by an average of 7%; and all open, woodland and residual land up to 39 acres was cut by 10% if the market value was more than $1,500 per acre.
Woodland values were reduced according to tract sizes, Pearson said: tracts of 40 to 49 acres were cut by 20%; 50 to 59 acres, by 30%; 60 to 69 acres, by 40%; and tracts of 70 or more acres, by 50%.
Since the last reassessment six years ago, some people have made improvements to their homes while other dwellings show the need for repairs, meaning they have gone down more than 7%, Pearson said.
"We have tried to appraise all at market value," he said. "I've been doing this 30 years, and I listen to what people have to say and make sure everybody gets a fair and equitable assessment."
Pearson said he had about 100 sales or "comps" to analyze for homes and lots, but only six for large tracts of land.
"We appraised over 20,000 parcels of real estate," he said, and there could be areas that need adjusting. "That's why we have hearings."
Weiss asked if one district had a greater reduction than others--if sales for Mayo River District were different from Smith River or Blue Ridge Districts, for example.
Pearson said he could postpone mailing the notices if the board wanted, but added that he could look into the board's concerns in a few days.
Boyce said when the reassessment was done in 2009, values went up 300% to 500%.
"I think you've gone back and remedied that gross reevaluation," he told Pearson.
County Attorney Alan Black asked Pearson when the data was collected. Pearson said between Jan. 1 and the end of August, 2014.
"That's extremely slim pickings in terms of data," Black said. "The 2009 reassessment reflected sales that occurred in 2007-2008, and this will reflect sales that occurred and what's happened in the market. I see nothing to be gained by postponement."
Mayo River District Supervisor Danny Foley asked why the new evaluation couldn't include 2013.
"It's probably not a bad idea to use 2013," Pearson said.
Commissioner of the Revenue Janet Rorrer reminded the board that the real estate tax revenue for 2015-2016 must be set by the end of March.
The mailing of the new value notices will set in motion the process of reassessment, which is supposed to be effective by Jan. 1, 2015. Appointment for appeals may be made the day after the notices are mailed for property owners to "show concerns about property values," Pearson said in his report.
Hearings are scheduled to start Nov. 17 and last approximately two weeks. The last day to make an appointment is Nov. 24.
To make an appointment, call the reassessment office at 276-694-0228. The office is located at 108 Blue Ridge St. (the former adult education building, across from Stuart United Methodist Church).