Meck resending property appeal notices after errors

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by APRIL BETHEA / Charlotte Observer

WCNC.com

Posted on August 12, 2012 at 5:49 PM

MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. -- Mecklenburg County is putting new notices in the mail to about 3,800 property owners who appealed tax values this year after a printing error resulted in people getting information on another property.

The county Assessor’s Office apologized for the error, which an outside vendor that handled the mailing said was caused by a “programming error.” County staff, who said an initial proof of the postcards contained no mistakes, learned of the problem after hearing from some homeowners on Friday afternoon, officials said.

The postcards were meant to confirm that the county Board of Equalization and Review had received a formal appeal of a property’s 2012 tax value and would send out additional information. But the back of the cards incorrectly had the parcel number, owner name and address for another property.

Assessor Garrett Alexander said no private information from property owners was released in the mix-up.

“Property owners can be assured that their property records ARE correct, regardless of the vendor error,” Alexander wrote in an email Saturday to county commissioners.

Still, the blunder drew criticism from some property owners already frustrated with the Assessor’s Office after last year’s revaluation, particularly the quality of information sent from the county.

“It’s just very disturbing that we’re starting 2012 right off the bat with miscommunications again,” said Myers Park resident Kathy Davis, who received one of the errant mailings. “I would have thought they would have been on high alert to make sure communications with property owners are with the utmost accuracy.”

The postcard addressed to Davis and her husband listed information for a property in Cornelius, according to an email she sent to county officials.

Alexander said the new notices are expected to be sent this week, and the county is “confident that the vendor will resolve the anomaly to our customers’ satisfaction.” The vendor, Cash Cycle Solutions of Charlotte, has previously “processed hundreds of thousands of mail pieces” without error, he said.

The printing company also plans to send an apology letter to property owners.

The Board of Equalization and Review is a citizens panel that reviews formal challenges to property values not resolved after an initial review by county staff. The board is still working to complete appeals of the 2011 revaluation, and will hear challenges received this year after that.

Meanwhile, an independent review is under way of the revaluation. Pearson’s Appraisal Service of Wilson has held public meetings, will do an analysis of land sales and offer recommendations for future revaluations. A report is due to county commissioners in November.


 

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