Local Politics

Chatham scraps planned delay in revaluation

Posted November 18, 2008 12:45 p.m. EST

— The Chatham County Board of Commissioners voted Monday not to put off the county-wide property revaluation and to use updated values when tax bills are sent out January.

Last month, the board elected to delay the revaluation for one year because of the national economic slowdown.

“Additional information from the tax office showed that a one-year delay would have more negative impacts on property owners and the county than expected, while the potential benefits were not substantial enough to delay revaluation until 2010,” George Lucier, chairman of the Chatham County Board of Commissioners, said in a statement. “A major factor in moving ahead is that the estimated costs of a one-year delay were considerably higher than initial reports indicated.”

Property owners would lose their right to appeal their 2009 valuation based on the economic situation if revaluation was delayed until 2010, Lucier said. That would mean that a resident whose home value dropped in the sluggish housing market couldn't use the economic situation as the basis for an appeal.

“This would not be equitable for Chatham County property owners,” he said.

A delay also would cost Chatham County up to $381,052 next year, primarily in taxes paid by utilities.

“This is about $230,000 more than we expected to lose, so we certainly had to reconsider the impact that this decision would have on next year’s budget and the residents who depend on county services,” Lucier said. “In the end, the county’s taxpayers would end up having to cover these costs.”

Chatham County revalues property every four years to bring tax assessments more in line with market prices for local property.