BEAUFORT — It’s still unclear if the county’s collective tax valuation will increase or decrease in January 2020.

This is according to County Tax Administrator Sarah Davis who, at county commissioners’ Monday meeting at the administration building on Court House Square, formally announced the schedule of values is available to the public.

“It’s currently available to (county commissioners) and also available to the public to come (to the tax office) to review or request an electronic copy,” Ms. Davis said, later adding, “it’s still a little early for us to determine what the values are doing, but we have moved on to the final stage.”

The tax administrator’s office is located at 302 Court House Square on the first floor of the administration building.

“The schedule of values is just a guide that we use in the revaluation process,” Ms. Davis said, adding that the schedule will not give residents an exact rate. “It’s one piece of it.”

Originally scheduled for 2018, the property revaluation was moved to 2020 because of Hurricane Florence. At the time, the county’s former tax administrator, Carl Tilghman, suggested the county postpone the revaluation due to the property damage caused by the hurricane. Mr. Tilghman said it would be difficult to correctly value property during storm recovery.

Speaking to county commissioners Monday, Ms. Davis said she and her staff are in the final stages of the process and there are a number of things they look at to determine property values.

“We look at vacant lots, improved land, residential improvements, farm buildings and improvements, commercial properties, industrial properties, residential properties, any type of real property that you can think of,” Ms. Davis said. “So you can see that’s quite a challenge.”

She also said the appraisal process is a mass appraisal.

“A lot of people, sometimes, when they look at their tax value they think of a fee appraisal, like what you get when you go to the bank to have your house mortgaged,” Ms. Davis said. “It’s not always as easy as looking at one property and finding the costs of one property. We don’t go on the inside of homes…we take a snapshot of the outside and try to apply it. I always like to let people know to keep that in mind.”

In total, the tax office will be assessing 60,761 parcels throughout the county.

Ms. Davis said one of the next steps is for county commissioners to approve the schedule of values, and county staff will give residents time to review the tentative schedule.

County commissioners agreed they would hold a public hearing on the proposed schedule during their Monday, Nov. 18 meeting, after which they will consider the schedule for approval.

Once complete, the 2020 revaluation will be the first since 2015. County Chairperson Mark Mansfield said the county’s collective valuation increased during the past two revaluation periods. Although tax office staff said it’s still too early to predict an outcome for 2020, Mr. Mansfield predicted a marginal increase.

“We saw the most significant decrease in 2011,” Mr. Mansfield said. “And in 2015, it was about a 13 percent decrease. We were scheduled for a revaluation last year … but after all the devastation we decided to put that off because the answer to the $1 million question is property values are probably going up.”

He also predicted the revaluation wouldn’t have a significant impact on residents’ pocketbooks.

“Just because your tax values will go up, your tax rates (should) go down by some nominal amount,” Mr. Mansfield said. “Those values, they have to be close because…it’s going to be four years before we can do them again.”

Ms. Davis said the purpose of revaluating properties every few years is to eliminate what she describes as inequities that might develop.

“The value in January of 2020 should reflect the current market,” Ms. Davis said.

Contact Dean-Paul Stephens at 252-726-7081, ext. 232; email Dean@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @DeanPEStephens.

(9) comments

Osprey

Fair market value for residential properties is a relatively simple process. Use data from recent sales within the property neighborhood/area to determine market value. This tax office uses another approach which is similar to playing craps. Throw the dice to determine who wins and who loses.

Commercial and vacant land is the area the tax office should focus due to the uniqueness of many of those properties.

mtstosea

Because of a a lack of available drywall "finishers", the contractor has not had the inside ceiling work even begun, and there is still a check list of small outside projects to be repaired from Florence. A drive by will not show the ceiling panels in the carport hanging down going directly into the attic, nor shutters not replaced, etc. My Insurance Company told me to be happy that I have a new roof and a bed to sleep in. Given verified damage, my property value has gone down $30,000.00, and I turned in the papers showing that loss to the Tax office as required, but I have heard nothing about their promise to adjust the affected property for 2019. My tax bill, due within the next few weeks does not show a lowering of my rate, nor property value. In a visit to the tax office several weeks ago, they did not know what the new head of the Tax department would choose to do about any adjustments for this year. Frustrating

sick and tired

Where are these "decreases" they speak of? I haven't seen a decrease EVER in ANY of the evaluations. My tax bill has increased with every evaluation. I'm not on the beach, not water front, and live in a trailer manufactured in 2002. So, who are these property owners that are seeing decreases. I remember a few years back when there was talk of increasing the tax rate, and they applauded themselves for NOT increasing the tax rate. It was also a re-evaluation year. So, instead of them increasing the tax rate they increased my property value, and guess what the bill went up because my trailer value went up. We saved up and built a workshop behind our home. Cost us $21,000.00. They valued it at over $70,000. I called and questioned this, told them I could bring the receipts. They told me they value it at some blanket blah, blah, blah, rate. Translation, we set the value at whatever we want, and you will pay the bill or we will put a lien on your property.

Decreases, yeah right.

Citizen 69

First the revaluation was originally scheduled for 2019 but due to Hurricane Florence was postponed for one year. Some folks still haven't recovered from that storm as well as the impact from Dorian. The BOC should abandon this reval and give time for the property owners to fully recover before hit will a property value change and potential tax increase. The tax base is fairly healthy and there is growth each year. They need to focus on the Tax delinquency problem. Just look at the agenda packet each month to see how much taxes have not been collected.

Osprey

Sick and Tired you are spot on. One of my sheds increased in value on the last round. I didn't upgrade or add electric but somehow value increased.

CARTERETISCORRUPT

The tax value on Front Street homes decreased significantly. This of course affected the prices on for sale homes. This benefitted those who buy up waterfront properties. How did this happen? The tax office is about as corrupt as it gets.

CARTERETISCORRUPT

All properties on Ann Street should experience a major tax increase. Especially those on Orange and Ann streets. The town needs the money.

DeadBolt

Funny thing is, the Town was letting 2 huge lease deals go roughly 10 years with out collecting the rent????????????????????? Beaufort Inn, and building across the street. hahahahahahahahahahaha ps....... try and ask them why it costs more for you to flush your commode then drink water!

Core Sounder

gotta love how the county commissioners are quick to tell us that we have the cheapest rate in the State but fail to mention that we also pay the most in taxes due to such high values being placed on our property. Low rates mean very little if they have extra high valuation on your home.

Welcome to the discussion.

As a privately owned web site, we reserve the right to edit or remove comments that contain spam, advertising, vulgarity, threats of violence, racism, anti-Semitism, or personal/abusive/condescending attacks on other users or goading them. The same applies to trolling, the use of multiple aliases, or just generally being a jerk. Enforcement of this policy is at the sole discretion of the site administrators and repeat offenders may be blocked or permanently banned without warning.