During a three-hour long Mecklenburg County Commissioners meeting on Wednesday, the board received an update on how the 2019 revaluation of properties is shaking out.
“People are going to see massive increases in their property values. The question is: will the County Commission have the political will to hold the tax rate revenue neutral?” said Commissioner Jim Puckett.
According to County Assessor Ken Joyner, the revaluations will reflect the booming real estate market over the past several years. Joyner says the total value of real estate, both commercial and residential, is up over 50% since 2011.
“We would love to get to a shorter cycle and that is the plan at this point,” said Joyner.
Joyner says the next revaluation will be completed in four years.
“There will be a greater impact on the commercial segment, which is up 79%.”
The shorter cycles should cut down on the massive fluctuations that can occur over an eight-year period.
Joyner says that the 2019 process should be much smoother than 2011 when valuations were given during the market collapse and thousands of homeowners fought their valuations.
“It is a new day. 2019 is really getting back to the basics. We have changed the process almost entirely,” said Joyner. “Whatever we have used to determine the values, we will make that available to them.”
With the extreme increase in property values, many property owners are concerned whether that will impact their taxes.
“The sticker shock in the past has been in high-growth areas in the suburbs. People moved into Lake Norman and the values skyrocketed because it became popular,” said Puckett. “I think the sticker shock this time will be the older, inner-city neighborhoods like Belmont, Cherry, Wilmore.”
Some property owners might see an increase, but that will depend on how the city and county set tax rates next year.
“Some people, even if we had a revenue-neutral tax rate, in high-growth rate areas, are going to see a tax increase no matter what,” said Puckett.
A "revenue-neutral" tax means the county tries to bring in the same revenue after the revaluation. So, even if the tax rate goes down, depending on your home value, your taxes may increase.
“We have to advertise that revenue-neutral rate so that our citizens are fully aware,” said Joyner.
“I think we are definitely going to be in shock,” said Marsha Pearson, who lives in the Wilmore neighborhood. "You can blink in Wilmore and a property is coming up out of the dirt.”
Pearson says her family has lived in the home for over five decades. Over the past several years, they have been preparing for this.
“We have been anticipating those things, so we are ready to roll with the punches - whatever they may be,” said Pearson. “We may have to set up a lemonade stand.”
According to Joyner, assessments will be mailed out in January of 2019, and tax bills will go out in July. Residents will be able to appeal their assessments with the county.
Joyner says they want to be as transparent and open with the public and property owners as possible. Many tools can be found at their website here.
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