Some Meck neighborhoods may be reassessed

Some Meck neighborhoods may be reassessed

Some Meck neighborhoods may be reassessed

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by DAVID PERLMUTT / Charlotte Observer

WCNC.com

Posted on November 1, 2012 at 5:51 AM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Some Mecklenburg County neighborhoods may have been inaccurately appraised in the controversial 2011 property revaluation and could get new values, according to county commissioners chairman Harold Cogdell.

That is one of several key issues that will be disclosed Thursday when the company hired to review the revaluation process updates its status to the Citizens Revaluation Advisory Committee, Cogdell said. The committee was established to oversee a portion of the revaluation.

The other issues identified by Wilson-based Pearson’s Appraisal Service include improving communications between county tax assessors and residents and making changes to the informal appeals process, he said.

The findings are preliminary, Cogdell said. Pearson’s won’t submit a final report with findings and recommendations until the commissioners’ Nov. 20 meeting.

Cogdell said he didn’t ask for a list of the neighborhoods that might be reappraised, but discussed broad findings of the review with county staff and the tax assessor’s office this week.

The county hired Pearson’s in July for $254,400 to assess the revaluation after county commissioners were bombarded with complaints from residents throughout Mecklenburg about overinflated property values and charges that the reassessment could be illegal because it didn’t comply with state law.

Thousands seek answers

The revaluation updated tax values for 355,307 Mecklenburg parcels, but by mid-July, the tax assessor’s office had heard more than 50,000 appeals. Many residents complained about a lack of transparency and not being able to talk face-to-face with those hearing appeals. Some said they couldn’t afford larger tax bills from the reappraisals.

Pearson’s update to CRAC kicks off a series of meetings this month before the final report is submitted to commissioners.

After the company updates CRAC, it will update commissioners Wednesday.

The board asked Pearson’s to determine whether the county tax assessor followed North Carolina law during the reassessment. Wednesday, commissioners will hear from CRAC chairman Tom Derham “on whether or not Pearson’s work was consistent with the direction the board gave them,” Cogdell said.

Cary Saul, who oversees the tax assessor’s office, said he believed Pearson’s will have fulfilled the board’s requirements when it turns in its final report. Saul declined to discuss the findings.

Will board take action?

Pearson’s has reserved a Nov. 13 commissioners meeting to disclose in detail its findings and recommendations. The board wouldn’t take any action until Nov. 20 after getting the final report.

Between Nov. 14 and 20, Pearson’s will go to each of the six county board districts to deliver findings – tailored to each district – and gather more feedback from residents to incorporate in its final report, Cogdell said.

At the Nov. 20 meeting, the current board’s last, commissioners will also hear County Manager Harry Jones’ recommendations on how to conduct future revaluations.

Cogdell said he’d like the lame-duck board to take action on the findings at that meeting.

“For me, it is important that we have an opportunity to implement some corrective measures based on what we, as commissioners, have heard from our constituencies for almost two years now,” he said. “I think the most important thing this board can do is carefully consider the recommendations ... to make sure some of the problems that arose during the 2011 revaluation don’t occur in the future.”

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