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Reassessment on the Way for Wake County

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RALEIGH — The total homeowners find at the bottom of their annual tax bill is composed of both the tax rate and the value of their property. To the dismay of Wake County homeowners, their homes and other real estate will face a reassessment this year.

It is the first general reassessment since 1992. For appraisal administrator Ken McArthor it has become a simpler process, because chances are good the county has a picture of your home on its computer.

This reduces leg-work and gives information about property values in Wake County.

Wake County Revenue Director Emmett Curl says the percentage of appeals to evaluations is not expected to increase, although the number is bound to be higher since the county has added so many more homes.

"We have 50,000 more single family dwellings on the ground this year than we did in 1992," Curl said.

Susan Martin and her family bought an existing home in a northwest Raleigh neighborhood eight months ago.

They are ready for the hit the family budget will take once their property value notice arrives in November.

The Martins are among half a million people in Wake County. They understand the value of a house.

"I sold a house in Charlotte for considerably more than I paid for it which I'd lived in for nine years," said Martin.

Martin says their new house in Raleigh was expensive. Prices have gone up a lot since the last county appraisals six years ago.

Bob Pearson is one of the people adding up new appraisals.

"We're analyzing sales information, visiting properties and trying to arrive at fair market value, trying to keep the consistency in place, making sure that we're fair," said Pearson.

For those 65 and over, who earn less than $15,000, the state allows a break of about $20,000 in value on their homes. That could spell the difference of being forced to sell or being able to stay in their present home.

If you disagree with your assessment, there is something you can do about it.

You can file an appeal with the county office. The documents to do so will be included in the notices that go out in July.

Wake county residents will be happy to know those property tax bills are not due until January 2001.