Combined 100 Voice Choir Presents 'My Heart Longs for Christmas' :: Sunday, December 14 & Monday, December 15 at 7pm :: click here for more info!

- published 8/21 (Larry) old link: http://www1.cfnc.org/applications/NC_Community_College/apply.html?application_id=1527

Click for Franklin, North Carolina Forecast

News State / Region County’s 2015 tax revaluation getting under way

Macon County's Tax Administrator Richard Lightner was on hand during Saturday's Board of Commissioners meeting to discuss the inevitable 2015 Tax Revaluation.

In September 2011, while facing a gloomy real estate market, commissioners made the controversial decision to delay the county's 2013 property revaluation process until 2015, placing the county back on an eight-year-cycle, the longest period allowed by the state. The decision to delay the process was not unique to Macon County, but instead was a state-wide trend followed by most counties including neighboring Jackson County.

The State of North Carolina mandates local governments to do revaluations at least every eight years, so if the county pushes the process back to 2015, they will not be able to prolong the process any further. When the decision was made in 2011, there was no guarantee home prices would stabilize by 2015, but commissioners were willing to take the risk.

Richard LightnerMacon County's Tax Administrator Richard Lightner was on hand during Saturday's Board of Commissioners meeting to discuss the inevitable 2015 Tax Revaluation.

In September 2011, while facing a gloomy real estate market, commissioners made the controversial decision to delay the county's 2013 property revaluation process until 2015, placing the county back on an eight-year-cycle, the longest period allowed by the state. The decision to delay the process was not unique to Macon County, but instead was a state-wide trend followed by most counties including neighboring Jackson County.

The State of North Carolina mandates local governments to do revaluations at least every eight years, so if the county pushes the process back to 2015, they will not be able to prolong the process any further. When the decision was made in 2011, there was no guarantee home prices would stabilize by 2015, but commissioners were willing to take the risk.

Traditionally, Macon County had been on an eight-year cycle but changed to a four-year cycle in 2003 and followed that up in 2007. Commissioners chose the four-year cycle then because property values were rising so quickly, home owners and land owners were getting sticker shock when the tax bill arrived with an eight-year window. By 2011, when it was time to start looking toward the 2013 revaluation, the housing crisis had hit and prices for housing had plummeted and did not fairly or accurately portray the previously appraised property value.

“There just weren't enough sales to do it before,” said County Manager Jack Horton. “For the 30-plus years I have worked in county government I have watched the tax rate go up. I never thought I would see it go down.”

Macon County sales for 2011 were very slow; 54 percent of sales were actually foreclosures or sales by Macon County agents in surrounding counties. Commercial sales in the county were also nearly nonexistent in 2011. Because of the lack of sales and true value sales on which to base a revaluation, Lightner told commissioners there simply was not enough information to properly do the revaluation then.

On Saturday, Lightner informed commissioners that voting to hold off on the revaluation was the right decision and his department now has a much better perspective of the housing market.

While sales are increasing monthly, and prices are beginning to become more and more stable, Lightner told commissioners that verified property sales, which excludes foreclosures, are up 25 percent from last year. “The number of foreclosures we are seeing is also stabilizing and are significantly better than 18 months ago,” he said.

Lightner informed commissioners that the county's tax office will have to begin the tax revaluation process as soon as possible, because although the revaluation is scheduled to be done in 2015, all preliminary work must be done no later than November 2014 to allow the process to be completed as needed.

The urgency to get the process started can be attributed to new state standards involving the appeal standards. After a property owner receives a new value notice they have 30 days to apply for an informal review if they disagree with their assessment. Macon County’s tax administration office then looks at the available data to determine if the assessment was justified. When that review is completed, another county notice is sent to the property owner who can then appeal to the board of equalization and review.

When commissioners decided to originally delay the revaluation process, the appeals process was a huge factor to consider because Lightner was concerned that his office would not have enough information to defend their revaluations.

For 2015, Lightner explained that the county can expect appeals because while the market is more stable, property values will still go down and property owners are likely to appeal the revaluations. The process is expected to be lengthy and costly, but necessary because it is not typical for property values to decline.

While the property tax is the largest single revenue line used to operate the county, Commissioner Kevin Corbin noted that the revaluation is in no way a means to increase the revenue generated for the county.





Share


Weekly updates in progress!

Grab your FREE copy of the
Macon County News
& Shopping Guide
on newsstands today

The Macon County News
holiday deadlines for
classifieds, display ads
& editorial copy:

– Friday, Dec. 26 for the
Tuesday, Dec. 30 issue

Note: MCN will NOT publish the week of Christmas!

Macon County News is now on:
Find the Macon County News on Facebook! and Find the Macon County News on twitter!
Facebook   Twitter