By Alex Bridges -- firstname.lastname@example.org
A relatively uneventful local housing market prompted Shenandoah County leaders to delay the next time the locality assesses real estate.
The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously at its meeting Tuesday to approve a change in the ordinance to change the 2012 reassessment for real estate to a 6-year cycle. The next reassessment takes effect Jan. 1, 2016. The county would have begun the process to reassess real estate next fiscal year but officials saw reason to delay the start and defer the cost to conduct.
As County Administrator Douglas Walker explained, the board started discussing the issue of whether to change from a 4-year to a 6-year cycle during its work on the fiscal 2013 budget.
The board held a public hearing on the matter as it involved making a change to the ordinance. County resident Cindy Bailey spoke at the hearing and questioned the board's actions. Bailey claimed the board declined to go forward with reassessments next year for fear values have fallen enough to the point the county would need to raise the rate on real estate taxes to make up a loss in revenue.
State law allows local governments to assess real estate in increments of one to six years, excluding every three years. The board had discussed moving the county to a 5-year cycle but ultimately chose a 6-year cycle.
"We assume they can change their minds next year if circumstances change," Walker said Wednesday.
The county faced spending $400,000 in the fiscal 2013 budget to start the reassessment process, according Walker. The $400,000 covers approximately two-thirds of the cost of the entire process which takes about 18 months to complete, Walker said.
During the budget deliberations, the board found it appropriate to postpone the reassessment for a couple of years because the county had seen little change in property values over the past several years, according to Walker. The county won't save $400,000 by delaying the reassessment but rather will defer the cost of the process to a future budget cycle.
Also at the supervisors meeting the board held a public hearing on a proposed ordinance to amend the code concerning voting precincts. Supervisors voted unanimously to change the polling places for the New Market Precinct no. 103 from the New Market Town Office to the New Market Volunteer Rescue and Fire Department; and to change the Toms Brook polling place from the Toms Brook Methodist Church to the Toms Brook Volunteer Fire Department. Walker explained that following the elimination of other precincts, the two in question meant more voters at the current polling places and this increase caused a space concern. Once a handicapped pad is installed at the new Toms Brook location, both polling sites will comply with the Voting Rights Act.