County panel cuts assessments for properties

WOODSTOCK – Dozens of Shenandoah County property owners disputed new real estate values and won – to some degree.

However, owners of more than half the parcels who contested the recent reassessments did not fare as well before the Board of Equalization over the past few months.

Wampler Eanes Appraisal Group performed the latest real estate reassessment last year. Values in the county fell overall, on average. Land values decreased while house values went up or down, according to the assessment.

As part of the process, the county formed the Board of Equalization in the spring and the panel held hearings through mid-summer for property owners who disputed the latest assessments.

Information provided by the Commissioner of Revenue’s office indicates that owners disputed the values of 132 parcels. The board left the assessments of 73 parcels unchanged, according to real estate specialist Becky Strickler. The panel decreased the values of 57 parcels (seven of which were adjusted early in the process and reflected in the 2016 book), according to Strickler. The board increased the value of two parcels, Strickler noted.

As of last week, no property owner had appealed a Board of Equalization decision in the Shenandoah County Circuit Court.

The 57 parcels reduced in value by the panel represent a value of $3,425,000. Of that amount, the assessment of the parcels adjusted in the first round of hearings represent a value of $1,549,000 already reflected in the real estate book, Strickler explained. The remaining 50 parcels represent a value of $1,876,000. The commissioner’s office abated $1,876,000 from the total reassessment for all parcels in the county.

The reassessment showed all county parcels valued at $4.36 billion generating $26.17 million in real estate tax revenue. The total assessment reflects a reduction of $582.31 million in deferred value for property in land-use taxation.

Given the real estate tax rate set by the Board of Supervisors of 60 cents per $100 of the assessed value, the parcels adjusted lower by the Board of Equalization equate to $20,550.

The commissioner’s office supplemented the total assessment by $40,400 – an amount that will generate an additional $242 in tax revenue.

The firm contracted by the county to perform the reassessment conducted the previous valuation six years earlier. County officials delayed the reassessment in the hopes that the real estate market would improve and the new values would generate at least enough revenue to cover the cost of the firm’s services.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or