Local News

Cumberland Residents Check Their Property Tax Bills

Posted September 21, 1998

— Many homeowners question their tax bills. Residents in Cumberland County have good reason to look twice. A staff shortage and outdated property reviews have made many of the bills inaccurate.

When Beth Morissette received the property tax bill for her home in Glendale Acres, she suspected right away that something was wrong.

"The price we paid for the house was much lower than the appraisal," Morissette said. "This is a good, established neighborhood, and the discrepancy was confusing."

Many of Morissette's neighbors may also have been billed too much or, in some cases, too little.

Recently, the Cumberland County Tax Administrator sampled 100 properties in the county's older neighborhoods. Officials found tax bills for 68 of the properties relied on inaccurate property values.

Garrett Alexander, the Tax Administrator, says Cumberland County authorities have not visited all the properties since the early 1980s. "Over time, properties change," Alexander said.

Alexander says the county needs more appraisers to ensure every home is correctly valued every four years.

County commissioners are considering hiring more staff, or changing to a cycle of eight years to revalue property.

Morissette says she just wants the problem fixed. "If it's not correct, I'm paying more than I should," Morissette said.

The Tax Administrator says residents who live in new neighborhoods should not have inaccurate information, but he would like to do a county-wide review just to make sure.

Alexander also says many of the inaccuracies could have been caused by Hurricane Fran. Many homes damaged by the storm have not been revalued. ,Julie Moos


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