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County real property reassessment update

The King George Board of Supervisors received a brief update on the ongoing property reassessment process. The reassessment is for taxation purposes and will be completed by the end of this year, to go into effect Jan. 1, 2014. King George has a reassessment performed every four years.

The report from Blue Ridge Mass Appraisal was provided by field supervisor Jonathan Larsen at a meeting on Sept. 17. Larsen reported that the company had completed the initial phase of the assessment during the last week of August. That included a representative from Blue Ridge visiting every property in the county.

The purpose was to inspect each parcel of improved land in the county through external visual inspection of structures and other improvements and elements of value located on the property.

The visits enabled them to verify the existing records and update the value of all property in King George to correspond to fair market value as required under state law.

That included ringing doorbells to ask basic questions about structures, including the number of bedrooms and bathrooms and verifying whether the house had a basement or not. If no one was home at the time of the visit, door-hangers were left with instructions on how to verify the requested info to the company.

After that, Larsen said they began what he called the “red tag” phase of reassessment, which was returning to properties where they initially noted there was a change being made, including a building permit issued or an occupancy permit issued. Those valuations were expected to be updated by the end of September.

Data analysis is the next step, with Larsen saying checks are made to spot obvious errors, with a return to the county to take another first-hand look.

Larsen said all sales have been updated, and those are being supplied to update the county’s 2013 files.
Blue Ridge next does a final sales study, when the county property valuations are scrutinized overall and by sections of the county using the tax map, and looking closer at areas that may need special attention.

APPRAISAL NOTICES TO BE MAILED LATER THIS MONTH
Later this month, a date is to be set to mail out notices of appraisal to landowners.

In addition to property reassessments for valuation, the notices are expected to contain a phone number and a timeframe for residents to call Blue Ridge to set up appointments for those who wish to review their valuations with the company.  

Property owners who disagree with their valuations will have two opportunities to dispute them.

First, they will be able to schedule an appointment to meet with the Blue Ridge assessors to discuss the values, as noted, in late 2013.

Then, early next year, they will have the opportunity to meet with a Board of Equalization for the county.

BOARD OF EQUALIZATION
At the same meeting on Sept. 17, Supervisors were briefed by County Attorney Eric Gregory on nominating members to a Board of Equalization.

By the end of this calendar year, members proposed for a Board of Equalization will be nominated by the Board of Supervisors from county residents, to be appointed by the Circuit Court. That equalization board will convene to further consider appeals of the assessments by landowners.

The board must be composed of not less than three, nor more than five people, with an option for alternate members, if Supervisors request. Appointees must attend a basic course of instruction given by the Virginia Department of Taxation.

At least one member must be a resident of the county and a majority of the members must be freeholders of real property in King George. Thirty percent of the members must be commercial or residential real estate appraisers, other real estate professionals, builders, developers, or legal or financial professionals. State Code also requires that at least one such described professional must sit in all cases involving commercial, industrial or multi-family residential property, unless waived by the taxpayer.


Phyllis Cook

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