- Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 January 2010 15:41
- Published on Wednesday, 06 January 2010 15:41
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Property owners can contest new real estate assessments
New real estate valuations in King George went into effect a few days ago, on Jan. 1.
The valuations are the result of assessments completed last October by Blue Ridge Mass Appraisals.
Property owners who wish to appeal their new assessments may make an appointment for a hearing before the King George Board of Equalization.
In November, owners were provided their first chance for appealing assessments to Blue Ridge. But whether they did or not, the hearings by the Board of Equalization provide another opportunity for owners to try to get their assessments revised.
Hearings of the Board of Equalization have been advertised and are scheduled for two days next week.
The hearings are scheduled to take place on Wednesday, Jan. 13, and Thursday, Jan. 14 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. If additional meetings are necessary, they will also be advertised.
To get a hearing, call 775-3354, which is a dedicated line in the Commissioner of Revenue’s office of Faye Lumpkin, which is located in the Revercomb Building, behind the Courthouse.
All hearings will also take place in the Revercomb Administration Building, in the Board room on the ground floor.
The Board of Equalization will listen to complaints by property owners regarding potential inequality or errors in the assessments.
~ LANDOWNER DEADLINE IS MARCH 30 There are two deadlines associated with the current assessment process.
Virginia law requires that localities establish a Board of Equalization to hear appeals by landowners. Those applications must be filed by March 30, 2010, at the latest.
The Board of Equalization must hold hearings and make decisions by May 30, 2010.
Those who plan to appeal their assessments should be prepared to explain why they think the property may be assessed improperly or inaccurately.
Property books are available at the Revercomb Building for residents to inspect, so they can compare their property valuations with other comparable properties in their area of the county.
Generally, property owners who wish to be successful in protesting the valuations would be expected to bring proof that the assessment is too high, such as a recent professional appraisal or evidence of lower selling prices for similar properties recently sold in the area.
~ ONLINE ACCESS TO ASSESSMENT RECORDS Assessment notices were mailed out by Blue Ridge to landowners in the end of October.
But if you can’t find your notice, you can have the choice of checking it online or in person at the Revercomb Building. You can also check the assessments of other properties.
Assessment records can be accessed online at Blue Ridge’s website, <www.vamanet.com>.
Simply go to the homepage and click on “King George County.”
From there, enter the name of the property owner and click on “Process Search.”
At the property listing, you will see the new assessment total for buildings and land.
To view additional information, click on the name.
To get more details, clicking on “Building 1” will give a complete description of the number of rooms, square footage, types of utilities, etc.
To compare assessments with other properties in the neighborhood, instead of entering a name, the website provides the option of entering an address or Tax Map and Lot number.
~ REAL ESTATE VALUES DOWN AN AVERAGE OF 6 PERCENT Real estate values in King George dropped an average of 6 percent as a result of the recent assessment.
But the value of vacant or unimproved land generally went up.
That was announced last fall by Blue Ridge Mass Appraisals representative Mike Didawick. Blue Ridge was under contract with the county to conduct a reassessment of all property in the county during the past year.
But the 6-percent average overall drop in assessments doesn’t mean all property owners saw a drop in their assessments. In fact, some went up.
In a release to the county last fall, Didawick said, “Many residential properties did go down, especially the higher priced properties as they are the more difficult to sell at this time. Tracts of vacant land and some commercial properties did increase in value.”
~ BOARD OF EQUALIZATION Virginia law requires that following each reassessment, localities establish a Board of Equalization to hear appeals by landowners.
The Board of Supervisors nominated members to a Board of Equalization, whose appointments were made by the Circuit Court.
The members of the Board of Equalization are John Jenkins, at-large, Ralph Sutton from the James Madison district, Larry Cameron from the James Monroe District, Ralph Peregory from Dahlgren and Homer Hite from Shiloh.
The appointees were required to participate in training provided by the state Department of Taxation to prepare for their duties. During their training session in December, Hite was elected chairman, with Cameron as secretary.
~ REASSESSMENTS AND TAX RATES As noted, the new assessed valuations went into effect January 1, 2010. Adjustments on the real estate tax rate will take place this spring, during the budget process and following a public hearing by the Board of Supervisors.
During upcoming budget deliberations to be scheduled, Supervisors will be provided an “equalized” tax rate by county finance staff. With real estate assessments down on the average, that means the equalized rate will be a tax figure that is higher than the current 45-cents per $100 valuation.
The equalized tax rate figure will reflect a calculation of what the tax rate would be if the same amount of real estate tax revenue were to be realized by the county as in the current year, but based on the new, lower real estate assessments.
Any proposed tax rate above the equalized rate would be a county tax increase and would be advertised as such.
Whatever tax rate is adopted by the Board of Supervisors in spring 2010 will be reflected in tax bills due in June 2010 when the first half-year payment is due.
By Phyllis Cook