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Charlotte Area

Revaluation is delayed until at least 2010

http://66.225.205.104/LM20081203.mp3

Commissioners agreed last night that it does not make sense to go through with a property revaluation next year in the middle of a rough and unsteady economy. Commissioner Dan Murrey was initially against delaying an assessment, but he said several factors made him change his mind. "It has come to light the multiple uncertainties that we have before us in the economy both nationally and locally, the uncertainties we have in determining the actual property value in that assessment process and how reliable those numbers would be," said Murrey. Many homeowners and local officials worried that a property assessment next year could lead to higher taxes during a tough time. Homes in Mecklenburg County were last revalued in 2003. Since then the County Tax Assessor estimates values have risen 20% across the county. Some people also feared that property values would continue to slide and any property assessed over the next several months would not have an accurate value in the tax files for long. Last night the debate did not center on whether the revaluation should be delayed, but rather how long it should. Commissioner Bill James urged the board to approve a two year delay. "It's not likely that we will be through this foreclosure crisis that's in the process of building by next year. Which means it's more likely that the deferral will be two years and not one," said James. Commissioners voted for a one-year delay and agreed to meet next month to decide whether to push back the revaluation until 2011. The board also gave the county the go-ahead to incur $344 million in debt to pay for construction projects next year. Commissioners can still go back and revise that number. But at this point $262 million for Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools is still on the table.