Local Politics

Wake Leaning Toward More Frequent Property Revaluations

Posted March 17, 2008

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— Wake County property owners could be hit twice as often by property revaluations in the future – but the values of their land, homes or other buildings shouldn't rise as much each time.

The tax value of all real estate in the county has been adjusted every eight years, but the Board of Commissioners is looking to switch to a four-year cycle to keep those assessed values more closely aligned with market values.

When the county revalued property last fall for the first time since 2000, the average property increased 43 percent in value – neighborhoods inside the Interstate 440 Beltline in Raleigh jumped an average of 73 percent – giving many area homeowners a case of sticker shock.

"Some of the properties get way out of bounds with market value over an eight-year cycle, and it would be better to get those more in line in four years rather than wait the full eight years," said Emmett Curl, Wake County's revenue director.

Forty-six of North Carolina's 100 counties revalue property on an eight-year cycle, while 41 use a four-year cycle. The other 13 revalue every five, six or seven years.

While some property owners could avoid the shock if revaluations happened more often, they might face higher annual tax bills in some years than they would have by waiting for the eight-year cycle.

Assessing every piece of property in the county twice as often also would cost almost $1.1 million more per cycle because additional manpower is needed, officials said.

Board of Commissioners Chairman Joe Bryan said more frequent revaluations are an issue of fairness, however.

"Fairness to areas that are appreciating more and paying a reasonable amount of taxes in the county ... would be the advantage of doing them more frequently," Bryan said.

The commissioners could approve the plan as early as next week. If they do, the next revaluation would be in 2013 because it takes an extra year to get the process going. After that, adjustments would be made every four years.

The Blue Ribbon Committee on the Future of Wake County called two years ago for revaluing property every four years and maintaining a consistent tax rate to generate revenue for growth.

"We've already stated that we're have a revenue-neutral tax rate to start from, and any expansiopns to the budget will be fully debated and transparent," Bryan said.

County commissioners agreed in January to adopt a revenue-neutral approach to the latest revaluation. They promised they will roll the county tax rate back from 57 to 53 cents per $100 of assessed value to avoid collecting a windfall from the higher property values.

34 Comments

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  • baseballman Mar 18, 2008

    We would be in a very poor situation if many services were not provided by collecting taxes. Property taxes are the most fairest method of sharing the burden by taxing in proportion to what value you own. Also, to some that think revenue neutral is dropping the tax rate by the same percentage that real estate valuations increase, small hint, it does not work like that. Revenue neutral is comparing all revenues from one year to the next, and this factors in items like personal property that are valued at 100% each year already. So, if you drop the rate by the same level of real estate increase, you are dropping the amount of taxes that are realized from personal property, vehicles, utility properties, etc..... So, with that said, if you understand property taxes fully, it is the fairest method of distributing the tax burden for services such as schools, law enforcement, emergency medical and such, that we need and must have..

  • MamaBear Mar 18, 2008

    hmm...well we paid under the tax value for our home (yes..it was in mint condition). Bought it after the deadline to appeal it. I think the new tax value gives a good guideline on how much is too much for the home you are buying. It is interesting viewing the wake county public real estate records and comparing it to how much the people are actually asking.

  • ohmygosh Mar 18, 2008

    In FLA reassessments occur every year. The compound interest effect is real.

  • rand321 Mar 18, 2008

    Because the last 7 years were a period of rapid home value increases and growth in Wake Co, we want to spend an additonal 7 to 8 million every 4 years to revalue properties and add an extra $1 million plus to the country revenue office to hire more people. We do not even know if the future will hold such large increases again.

    Would the county be better to put this extra money towards roads, parks, education or any other areas needing funding. Or better yet, reduce the property tax rates!

    All thsi sounds more like trying to increase goverment, get more money from the taxpayers with more frequent tax increases rather than saving us money.

  • superman Mar 18, 2008

    The schools asked for a bond issue a couple years ago. The voters declined to approve it. And now we have a billion dollar bond issue approved and that is not enough to catch up. It takes 3 to 5 years to build a school. So the bond issue just approved wont really help out for a couple years. It takes time to build a school. We will be playing catchup with the schools for years to come. I dont have kids in school but I certainly approve of the money being spent. Money does not fall out of the sky and the tax money is the only way to fund schools.

  • veyor Mar 18, 2008

    Wouldn't want to miss a single penny to waste if at all possible.

  • Space Mountain Mar 18, 2008

    They shouldn't base the taxes on the values of the home because most of them are overvalued. Just because some idiots will pay that much for a home doesn't mean it's REALLY worth that much. People these days are treating homes like a status symbol, using them to show off their wealth. Look at me, I just paid $300,000 for a 2,000 square foot home inside the beltline! Whoo hoo!

  • meh2 Mar 18, 2008

    I have seen government employees. There is no end to their "waist".

  • TOMMYG Mar 18, 2008

    To all the complainers that claim to be overtaxed due to government greed, check the budget. What spending specifically do you want reduce? Suggest a plan rather than just continue to complain in generalities. You live in a beautiful place, always selected as one of the best places in the US to live based on a variety of criteria. Our taxes are low by comparison. If you want to live in a poorly managed, dirty, high unemployment area, with no amenities, tow your double wide to some remote area and maybe none will bother you with civilization.

  • mep Mar 18, 2008

    More re-evaluations = More tax dollars for these yahoos to spend! Someone really needs to get this house in order. If I could just go to my boss and force him to raise my salary each time I wanted to spend more money it would be fine... but that is NOT how the world works, and its about time our local govt stops the waist, corruption, and downright sloppy use of our tax dollars! Maybe we can do without another dog park, or aquatic center, or greenway bridge and bike trail... at least until we can get things like water, schools, and roads under control!
    Wadda think?

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