Higher tax rate may not mean higher bills

WOODSTOCK – Even with the higher property tax rate that was approved this week, taxpayers – including members of the Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors – whose property values decreased shouldn’t see bills increase, and some might pay less.

Supervisors voted 4-2 on Tuesday to increase the tax rate on real estate from 57 cents to 60 cents per $100 of the assessed value. County officials have avoided calling the adjustment an increase because property values dropped as of the latest assessment and keeping the rate at 57 cents means a loss of expected revenue. The 60-cent levy should level off the revenue projections, officials have said.

Supervisors Cindy Bailey and Marsha Shruntz pushed to keep the tax rate at 57 cents and spending at the same levels as the current budget. Information provided by the Commissioner of the Revenue’s Office showed that Bailey would see her yearly tax bill decrease by almost $100 and Shruntz by almost $260 had the rate remained unchanged. At a 60-cent rate, Bailey can expect to pay $24 more in real estate taxes. Shruntz will still pay less in taxes by about $113 under a 60-cent rate.

Chairman Conrad Helsley can expect to pay approximately $614 more in real estate taxes under the 60-cent rate. Helsley still would pay approximately $460 more if the rate remained at 57 cents.

Supervisor John R. “Dick” Neese would have paid $105 less if the rate remained unchanged but still will pay $69 less under the new levy.

Vice Chairman Richard Walker said he wouldn’t support any levy higher than 60 cents. Walker will still pay $5 less under the 60-cent rate compared to what he paid last year under the 57-cent rate. Walker would have paid $123 less if the rate remained at 57 cents.

Information provided by the Commissioner of Revenue’s Office shows the following assessments in 2010 and 2016 for properties owned by current supervisors:

Bailey and/or her husband R. Scott Bailey, of Stagecoach Road, own properties assessed at $420,700 in 2010 and $403,700 for 2016. At the 57-cent rate, the Baileys would pay approximately $2,301 in real estate tax for the new assessment compared to $2,398 under the previous values. At a 60-cent rate, the Baileys would pay $2,422.

Baker, of Conicville Road, owned approximately 116 acres assessed at $910,800 as of 2010. Most of the parcels were in land-use taxation, decreasing the taxable value on the land but not improvements. Baker owned 123 acres assessed at $1.01 million. However, county records show Baker’s total property assessment at a taxable amount of $494,900 that includes improvements and land under the special taxation program. At a 57-cent rate, Baker would pay $5,772 but, with many of the parcel land-use taxation, will pay $2,820. Baker will pay $2,969 under the 60-cent rate.

Helsley, of Ruth Court in District 6, owns properties assessed at $448,100 in 2010 and $529,100 for 2016. At a 57-cent rate, Helsley paid $2,554 under the 2010 assessment and $3,015 for the 2016 value. At 60 cents, Helsley will pay $3,174.

Neese, of Jiggady Lane, owned 3.5 acres assessed at $136,400 for 2010. Neese now owns 3 acres assessed at $118,000 for 2016. Neese would have paid $672 under a 57-cent rate compared to $777 for the previous assessed value. Neese will pay $708 under a 60-cent rate.

Shruntz, of Amos Lane, owns 99 acres assessed for 2010 at $528,000 and $482,700 in 2016. At a 57-cent rate, Shruntz would have paid $2,751 under the 2016 assessment compared to $3,009 for the 2010 value. At a 60-cent rate, Shruntz will pay $2,896.

Walker, of Sherman Road in District 3, owns 45 acres assessed in 2010 at $412,900 and $391,400 in 2016. Walker would have paid $2,230 at a 57-cent rate under the new assessment compared to $2,353 under the 2010 value. Walker will pay $2,348 at a 60-cent rate for the new assessment. While some of Walker’s property, owned under the company name Rebel Hill Properties, is described in county documents as open space or for farming, none of the parcels are in land-use taxation.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com

An earlier version of this story should have stated that Supervisor Steve Baker’s properties are valued at a taxable assessment of $494,900 for 2016 that includes land in land-use taxation and improvements. Baker will pay $2,969 in taxes this year and would have paid $2,820 under a 57-cent tax rate.

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