Public hearing on Schedule of Standards & Values

The Vance County Board of Commissioners held a public hearing during its regular meeting regarding the Schedule of Standards and Values that will most likely be used to reassess property values in Vance for the 2008 tax year.

The hearing was conducted by Vance County Tax Collector Sam Jones.

According to Jones, the schedule is an outline of “how the job is supposed to be done”. The document does not indicate what the final value of a particular property is.

Middleburg resident Robert Duke was the only public speaker at the meeting. He told commissioners that his property has appreciated 33% during the last two reevaluations.

Duke told members that his house is partially brick and that this was given as the reason for the increase.

Duke asked if there is a scale for reevaluation. He asked how the situation is handled when assessors do not look inside the houses.

Jones replied that all houses are given a grade based on the age of the home. He went on to say that values are also affected by location.

The tax collector emphasized that inspectors do not enter houses. The outside “grade” of the house is used to estimate the inside of the house.

Grades run from “A” to “E”.

Bob Pearson, who represents the company which is conducting the reevaluation, said that brick “costs a little more”. He also said that everything “boils down to market value”.

Pearson said that people will call and say that their house is over-assessed. He said that there is a need to look at properties and “what’s going on in the market”.

Vance County Board of Commissioners Chair Deborah Brown noted that taxpayers will have an opportunity to meet with the appraisers. Jones indicated that homeowners will be given a letter indicating the reappraisal value with a number they can call to discuss the reappraisal value.

Jones said that he thinks it is important to “get properties at market value”.

Commissioner Dan Brummitt asked about reappraisals for farms and senior citizens. Jones replied that all properties will be assessed at market value and that those who qualify for an exemption can get one.

Commissioner Terry Garrison asked if foreclosures would be used as comparisons [for market value]. Pearson replied that they would not.

Brown asked if the location of the Standards and Values document had been put into the notice for the public hearing. Jones replied that it had not.

Grissom told members that the location of the documents had been noted in the minutes of the last County Commission meeting.

The document is located for public review in two places: the H. Leslie Perry Memorial Library and the office of County Manager Jerry Ayscue.

Commissioner Danny Wright made a motion to approve the document. However, he later withdrew the motion when the Commission was informed by Jones that the document needs to “lay over” for four weeks after the public hearing.

Brown asked if the public notice had indicated the need for a layover. No one was sure. She asked staff to research whether “appropriate steps” were taken regarding the public hearing.

Action on the issue is tentatively planned for the board’s September meeting. The board’s next regular meeting is September 4, 2007 at 6:00 p.m. in the County Administrative Building.