Meck Tax Assessor: Much Smaller Tax Base Was Surprise To All
The City of Charlotte will have a lot less tax revenue to work with partly thanks to a re-do of the botched 2011 property revaluation. That came as a surprise to council members last week. They questioned the county tax assessor Thursday to find out what happened.
Mecklenburg County hired the private firm Pearson to correct the 2011 property revaluation. Throughout the process the company told the county to plan on a smaller tax base. That tax base ended up dropping by $2 billion, way outside Pearson’s own projections.
“We felt we needed to be very clear about who did what and who should answer for what,” said council member Ed Driggs.
Mecklenburg County Tax Assessor Ken Joyner explained the neighborhoods with major problems in the 2011 revaluation took Pearson more time to analyze.
“That’s an element that led to certain neighborhoods being pushed to the rear of the project as they were going through their analysis,” said Joyner.
Pearson processed those over the last three months.
Council members wondered why no one clued them in to the process.
“The critical issue is for me that there was no anticipation as we got the input from the consultants that that process would result in a bulge,” said Driggs.
Joyner told them Pearson hadn’t processed the commercial properties until the last few months. The company had expected those to gain in value, but the opposite happened.
Council member Greg Phipps asked why he didn’t know sooner the tax base would shrink so much.
“I didn’t know about it as chair of the budget committee until that Monday of March 16th, so I’m trying to get a feeling for when was that information communicated to the budget director and effected parties,” said Phipps.
Joyner said the analysis of the tax base was complete late February and he gave it to city officials on March 6.
At times, it felt like council members were grilling the messenger.
“The unsatisfactory thing is that some of the people in the county are no longer there. You’ve got an outside consulting firm. You’ve got the General Assembly,” said Driggs.
At least, he said the revaluation is behind them.
Joyner doesn’t expect to conduct the next revaluation until 2018 at the earliest.