Lawmakers file bills to address Meck Cty botched 2011 revaluatio - | WBTV Charlotte

Lawmakers file bills to address Meck Cty botched 2011 revaluation


Property owners say it has been a long time coming, when on Monday, a bipartisan group of legislators finally filed bills to correct the controversial 2011 revaluation in Mecklenburg County.

"Our intent here has been all along to bring revaluation into line with what it would have been had it been done correctly in the first place" says Rep Bill Brawley of District 103.

 House Bill 200 and Senate Bill 159 are companion bills with the same language.

Senator Jeff Tarte, of District 41, says the purpose of the legislation "is to require that the tax database be cleaned up and upgraded." Outside consultants hired to review the revaluation found that the database had outdated information, and county staff never bothered to visit some properties.

Senator Tarte, who was the Mayor of Cornelius during the 2011 revaluation uprising, says the legislation will also lead to "actual redo of the 2011 process."

"The intent is to restore trust and confidence back in our local governments again in this process" says Senator Tarte. "And to know that every property owner in Mecklenburg County is entitled and will get a fair and accurate property value."

Angry property owners first brought the problem to light when they received extremely high tax bills. From Charlotte to Matthews to Cornelius - people fought back. County leaders finally relented and agreed to a review of the revaluation. An outside company found that county staff had indeed botched the revaluation.

Lawmakers in Raleigh stepped in.

"The worst effect has actually been in older neighborhoods for low income people" says Rep. Brawley. "We have a lot of cases with widows who own their homes - have homes built in 1940's that are treated as if they were built in 90's. And their values have gone up so much they're literally at risk of losing their homes over their property taxes."

Rep Brawley says once values are re-set, "those who have been most assessed will be addressed first". Brawley says people who wrote checks will receive refunds plus interest.

Mecklenburg County will be responsible for funding refunds.

"I would expect that the County Manager and his finance staff would work very hard to  to try and understand what the cost implications would be to operating budgets" says Mecklenburg County Commissioner Karen Bentley.

"We're at the doorstep of putting our fiscal year 2014 budget together. We will work collaboratively with staff to help them get clarity around what we could expect from a cost perspective to move this forward" says Bentley.

Homeowners whose properties were under assessed will receive a bill. Brawley says those payments will not come with interest, and won't be due until the next tax billing period.

As for the bills' path in the General Assembly, Rep. Brawley says he expects them to move quickly through both chambers.

Brawley says the bills will be read in to Monday night then assigned to committees in the House and the Senate.

After passing committees, they will be reported out to the floor where they will be voted on, then passed on to the Governor for his signature.

Rep Brawley says "at that point it will go into law immediately."

But it will take some time for property values to be corrected.

Senator Tarte says "the database has to be cleaned up first. It's pointless to do revaluation until the database is upgraded."

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