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To Re-Do Or Not To Re-Do? Meck Commission Debates Tuesday

County Manager Harry Jones answers a citizen's questions as County Commission Chair Jennifer Roberts listens. Photo courtesy of
County Manager Harry Jones answers a citizen's questions as County Commission Chair Jennifer Roberts listens. Photo courtesy of

A growing chorus of Mecklenburg County citizens and elected officials is calling for a complete re-do of the 2011 property tax revaluation. The independent review completed last week found most of the new property values are accurate. But values in a small percentage of neighborhoods – perhaps 10 percent – are significantly out-of-whack, according to the report. 

So now what? The Mecklenburg County commission meets Tuesday night at 6 p.m. to discuss.

WFAE's Julie Rose joined All Things Considered subsitute host Michael Tomsic in studio to talk about the options.

TOMSIC: Julie, what are the chances of a complete do-over?

ROSE: It looks like the Republicans on the commission are leaning that direction. But County Manager Harry Jones is recommending against a re-do. He thinks the county should just correct the problems in neighborhoods that were identified as having major issues of inequity.

TOMSIC: Who would do that work?

ROSE: Jones wants the commission to hire an outside firm and estimates it would take about a year – costing as much as $2.5m to get the major problems with the 2011 revaluation cleaned up.  More minor inconsistencies would be handled by the current tax assessor's staff. But the idea of having existing staff involved in the process at all – even just supervising the outside firm – is a problem for some on the commission. Commissioner Bill James wrote a strongly-worded email to the county manager yesterday calling for a house-cleaning, basically.

TOMSIC: He wants people fired?

ROSE: Or at least held responsible. And certainly not allowed to have any role in planning or implementing future revaluations.  The Cornelius Town Council, incidentally, passed a resolution along those same lines last night.

TOMSIC: And what about the people who've been paying too much property tax these last two years because their neighborhoods were assessed incorrectly? Is the County Manager promising refunds?

ROSE: Not at all. Any fixes would only apply to future tax bills. If the County Commission tonight does decide to go back and offer refunds – or scrap the 2011 revaluation and re-do it – that would require special approval from the state legislature.

TOMSIC: Okay Julie, thanks. We'll be listening for your report tomorrow on Morning Edition.

ROSE: You're welcome.

Find links to the Independent Revaluation Review and County Manager's recommendations here.