Property values likely to stay same or drop for 65 percent of properties

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, February 2, 2017

COLUMBUS-The ongoing property revaluation in Polk County has ended with 65 percent of property values either staying the same or decreasing, according to Robert Haskins, of Wampler Eanes Appraisal Group, which the county hired for the revaluation.

Polk County Commissioners met Jan. 23 and heard from Haskins, who said the county was in the last couple of days of the revaluation. Haskins said the company was preparing to close its file and has their final values.

Property owners should be receiving their new values by mail soon, according to Haskins.

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Commissioner Ray Gasperson said he hears the county is looking good on values.

Haskins said he only deals with values but when Polk County did its last revaluation eight years ago, values were at a peak and then the market crashed.

“There was a lot of property that was over-valued for the last eight years,” Haskins said. “About 65 percent of the properties will either see no increase or a decrease in their property value. About 35 percent of the properties will see an increase. Basically, it’s a wash for the county.”

Haskins said his company valued cell tower sites, which hasn’t been done in the past, as well as completed assessments on national companies such as dollar stores, drug stores and auto parts stores that compete with the county’s local market. Haskins said they tried to go in and clean up records and add to the tax base.

“Probably 65 percent (of property owners) are going to be happy,” Haskins said, “35 percent not.”

Property owners who disagree with their new value can appeal the appraisal. To appeal, property owners who wish to appeal are encouraged to bring the county a recent appraisal of their property as well as photographs so the county can make adjustments where necessary.

Haskins said a property may look nice on the outside but be a wreck on the inside, including having a roof leak or other issues the assessor couldn’t see.

Gasperson said hopefully with the current revaluation the county can avoid what happened after the last revaluation with Bright’s Creek. Gasperson said the county board and attorney dealt with changes in values there for a long period of time.

Haskins said the public is welcome to come in and talk about any adjustments that need to be made.

Property owners who are not satisfied with informal talks with the county can appeal the value to the Polk County Board of Equalization and Review. If a property owner is not satisfied with the board of E&R’s decision, the property owner can appeal their tax value to the N.C. Property Tax Commission in Raleigh.

County commissioners will consider whether to adjust the tax rate to make the revaluation revenue neutral during the upcoming budget season for fiscal year 2017-2018, which will begin July 1.

The property values for the current revaluation became effective Jan. 1, 2017.

The county recently decided to do revaluations every four years instead of eight, as had been previous practice, to keep values from having dramatic differences. The state requires counties to revaluate properties every eight years but most counties in North Carolina do it every four years.