Pearson's hired to do 2015 reassessment
By Nancy Lindsey
The Patrick County Board of Supervisors voted Monday night to hire Pearson's Appraisal Service to conduct the county's real estate reassessment for 2015 at a contract price of $358,000.
County Administrator Tom Rose said there were three bids for the job, and Pearson's was close to being the low bidder. He didn't elaborate on why Pearson's was selected.
Pearson's did the county's reassessment for 1997 and 2003. According to this newspaper's records, the average value of real estate rose by 32% between 1997 and 2003.
When Wampler-Eanes Appraisal Co. did the reassessment which went into effect in 2009, the value of real estate increased by an average 76%, with some individuals seeing increases as high as 600%.
Although the company and others said the high increase was due partially to real estate being valued too low in the previous reassessment, the evaluation of 2009 sparked a taxpayers' revolt that filled many board meetings with angry landowners.
Petitions objecting to the reassessment were signed by 2,786 people.
One of the strongest objections was the claim that the process did not take into account the fact that the country was in the middle of the deepest recessions since the Great Depression of the 1930s and that values of real estate were falling, not rising.
In the upcoming reassessment, county officials have said, the reverse will probably be true: the average value of real estate is expected to drop.
Rose estimated that Patrick's values will go down by as much as 12%. He noted that neighboring Franklin County's reassessment showed a decrease of 14.5%.
If that happens, the board of supervisors will be forced to consider tax increases in 2015-2016 just to maintain the status quo and provide basic services.
The reassessment process will take approximately 18 months and will be funded over two budget years.
According to Donna Shough, county finance officer, the county has a reassessment fund of $200,000 from prior years, which the board is expected to transfer to the general fund when the process actually gets underway in 2014.
No money is set aside for reassessment in the current fiscal year, Shough said.