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Posted August 15, 2012 | comments 12 Comments

Shenandoah supervisors postpone homes assessments

By Alex Bridges -- abridges@nvdaily.com

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.

12 Comments | Leave a comment

    County Administrator Douglas C. Walker asked for an 8 cent tax hike; the board approved 4 cents. This tax increase does not include paying the following: jail project, Edinburg school, renovating Old Court House to name a few.

    Fearing that declining real estate values would force them to increase the tax rate, Shenandoah County supervisors have now decided to discontinue the practice of reassessing property every four years. Local government, including schools, depend heavily on real estate taxes for funding. Supervisors would have no choice but to increase the tax rate significantly to collect enough money to finance the cost of government that continues to grow in spite of a poor economy.

    Did you know you cannot be taxed for more than the fair market value of your property?

    cool fair market value,
    I think this goes in my favor, I'm just the little guy who bought his home at the pimacle of the market, and now is......yoiu know just about what.

    ..........if not for relatives, good friends, and great people from this blessed Vallley, would be in the Loop of Turmoil. This Shen valley is blessed with Great people. So lets all keeep helping each other out.

      Blessed my azz we are stuck with Helmsley and the rest of his bunch until the next election when their crooked azzes will be voted in again.

      Shen. Co. raised the values of our properties in the worst recession since the Depression and have now voted to keep them at that inflated rate to keep the tax dollars floating in to fund their illegal projects. Did you vote for bonds on the Courthouse or Social Services Buildings? I did NOT because they broke the Virginia Constitution by creating a debt without voter approval. Of course they voted against a reappraisal because they want to keep the inflated values they gave us the last time. If I could find an IDIOT willing to give me the dollar value these GOOD OLD BOYS forced on us on the last appraisal I would SO BE OUT OF this backward redneck county. But I would be lucky to find someone willing to live in this Hellhole, pay the taxes they demand and give me at least 1/2 of the real estate tax appraisal.

    so true....I pay taxes on $189,500.00....but just had an appraisal for $125,000.00

    We should be so lucky that we'd get a reassessment so we'd be paying on the fair market value. Thanks to Strasburg allowing developers to over-saturate the market with over-priced houses that wound up in foreclosure, the FMV on mine sure isn't what it used to be.

    As I have stated before....we need to elect leaders based on their qualifications rather than how long they have lived in the county or what thier last names are. It is clear that we are dealing with leaders who are inexperienced when it comes to making difficult financial decisions. Therefore, everyone needs to vote and study the candidates in the next election.

    We are tilting at windmills here. If the reassessment revealed your property was worth less than it is now the Board of Supervisors would just raise the tax rate. The County is going to assure they take in the same amount of money no matter your property value.

    This really is a catch-22 situation. Either the assessments get decreased and the taxes go up or they stay put and the taxes stay the same. To those of you that say you are paying taxes on an assessed value that is more than an appraisal you have in hand: file an appeal with the county office. That is an option that you have when you receive your tax bill in the mail. If you have a copy of an appraisal that states your property's value is less than what the tax assessment is, that's a pretty strong arguement to have your value looked at and taxes reconsidered.

    In a county where some officials have multiple official county vehicles parked at home, I can understand why supervisors feel pressure to keep property value assessments at historical premiums.

    So, by deferring a $400,000 budgeted expenditure to a future (after elections) budget cycle does the current board then claim that they are fiscally responsible since they now have $400,000 more towards balancing their budget? Should someone make a motion that this current $400,000 go into an untouchable escrow account until such time as the reassments are done? After all, we're not spending it on the assessments it was allocated for, so why should it just go to cover other fiscal irresponsibilities?

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