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Johnston Land Owners Appealing Reassessment Values

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JOHNSTON COUNTY, N.C. — Johnston County is known for its quiet communities and what seems like a slower pace of life.

It is also the fastest-growing county in the state, and the cost of living there is coming at a high price -- especially when it comes to taxes.

Roy and Clara Raynor just got their property assessment. It shows Johnston County nearly doubled the value of their home and other parcels of land they own.

"We feel we've been taken advantage of," Clara Raynor said. "We have not won the lottery, we have not become a millionaire, but the county thinks we're a millionaire."

The Raynor's yearly tax bill will go from around $4,000, to more than $8,000.

"It's going to put a big strain on us to pay double tax," she said.

The county tax office is swamped with complaints from land owners who said the county is getting greedy.

"So far, in the mail we've gotten about 2,500 pieces and we have about 2,700 appeals scheduled," said Pat Goddard, Johnston County tax administrator.

The appeals office is busy, too.

One landowner said the wooded lot she owns went from a value of $12,000 to $139,000.

"On paper we're obviously quite wealthy," the landowner said.

Why are property values going up so fast?

Commercial development has pushed up prices, and the county said its last assessment eight years ago may have been a little generous.

"One of the reasons is some of the properties were undervalued, " Goddard said.

Anyone can appeal a tax assessment, and the county is bracing for many more.

"I expect by the end of the month we'll be up to the 9,000, 10,000 range," Goddard said.

Many residents said the values are out of line. In Wake County, the last assessment had overall values go up 43 percent. In Johnston, the latest assessment has values increasing 62 percent.


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