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Politics

Assessor Starts 2019 Revaluation Process, Expects Property Values To Jump

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Mecklenburg County houses and commercial buildings are due for another property revaluation in 2019.  Values are expected to jump. The last one in 2011 had to be redone because of errors. The county assessor says this time will be different. 

County appraisers will spend the next year looking at sales data and setting new values for Mecklenburg County's 375,000 properties. When new valuation notices go out by Jan. 1, 2019, it will have been eight years since the last revaluation - the maximum allowed by state law.

Blame that on the botched 2011 appraisals. After lots of complaints about outsized increases and outdated records, state lawmakers ordered the county to re-do the assessment.

"Probably the number one reason we're sitting here with an eight-year revaluation again was just the amount of time and effort it took to complete that process mid-cycle," said Mecklenburg County Assessor Ken Joyner.

Joyner was hired in 2013, after all the trouble, and after the previous assessor resigned.

His analysis of what happened in 2011:   “There was not enough communication, not enough opportunities for citizens to be heard. Maybe not enough transparency with sales and other information where people could really dig in and see what was going on in their own markets."

Joyner says after the 2011 re-do, about 7 of every 10 valuations (69 percent) were unchanged. But 23 percent went down, resulting in about $100 million in refunds. And 8 percent saw increases, which brought in more than 20 million dollars.

His office has more employees this time - 120 instead of 75 or so. The office has new tools, including an online program that lets owners check the accuracy of property records - like the number of bedrooms or square footage.  And Joyner says training and customer service will be better.

BIG INCREASES? 

There could be big increases again this time around. Joyner said with real estate prices rising steadily since 2011, values for the county's 320,000 residential properties could be up an average of 30 percent.

"Many people think when we go from old values to the new that that's a one-year increase. But it's actually the reflection of the market changes over an eight-year period," Joyner said. 

But that won't necessarily mean higher tax bills. Any change in taxes would depend on whether your property gains more or less value than the average overall.

Meanwhile, Joyner says he expects the next revaluation after this one to happen quicker – in four years. But that's ultimately up to the county commission.

db113017JOYNERedited.mp3

Listen to a longer edited interview with Mecklenburg assessor Ken Joyner, about the revaluation process, problems with the 2011 revaluation and what to expect this time around.