The Alexander County Tax Office has been working hard preparing for the 2023 revaluation. Tax Administrator Doug Fox and Jimmy Tanner with Tanner Valuation Group presented a revaluation update and schedule of values to the Alexander County Board of Commissioners at the August 1st meeting. By NC General Statute, counties are required to conduct a revaluation at least every eight years.
Fox said there are approximately 25,000 parcels in Alexander County. Of those parcels, about 12,000 have “improvements” such as a house or structure. Tax office staff has been visiting county parcels over the past two years to verify property data. He said this is the tax office’s first in-house parcel review, which would have cost $750,000 if outsourced.
Fox said the reappraised property values will go into effect on January 1, 2023. “The market has been growing at a rapid rate,” Fox related.
Tanner, whose company completed the schedule of values and reviewed commercial properties, then presented a PowerPoint explaining the revaluation process. He said that the goal of a reappraisal is to adjust property tax values to the current market value.
“North Carolina is a market value state. Citizens’ properties will be valued at 100 percent of the market value as of January 1, 2023,” Tanner said. “Tax value and market value should be the same amount for the first year after a revaluation.”
He said the market value is set by buyers and sellers for residential property and by rents, leases, and sales for commercial property. Revaluation interprets market data of sold properties, then develops models which will imitate or reproduce the true value of unsold properties.
Tanner presented an example of a Hiddenite home that had a tax value of $154,679 in 2015, and sold for $400,000 on April 22, 2022, for a ratio of .385 (tax value divided by sales price). As of July, the current tax values based on the 2015 reappraisal are approximately 58 percent of the existing market value. North Carolina General Statutes require reappraisals to be at 100 percent of market value when the revaluation goes into effect.
“Everyone knows the market has drastically increased over the last few years,” Tanner said. “This is not just Alexander County, it’s statewide and nationwide.”
Valuation notices are expected to be mailed to all property owners in February or March 2023 which will state the new assessed value as of January 1, 2023. The notice will contain information regarding the appeal process; however, if the property owner believes the value is reasonable and fair, no action is required.
A copy of the schedule of values, standards, and rules is available for public inspection at the tax office and county administration office. A public hearing to discuss the schedule of values will be held at the September 19th meeting of the Board of Commissioners.
In other business:
• Thomas Mitchell, Social Services Director, presented an Energy Programs Outreach Plan to the board. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federally-funded block grant program that includes a Crisis Intervention Program, Low Income Energy Assistance Program, and Weatherization program, in addition to other non-federal intervention programs. DSS has developed an outreach plan to ensure that those in need of these services are informed.
• Scott Hines, Register of Deeds, presented a PowerPoint to show the role of the Register of Deeds office and its staff. He believes the staff members’ pay grades and ranks are too low based on the job responsibility and the amount of revenue generated at the office. The current and requested grades are: Deputy Register of Deeds, 62 to 64; Assistant Register of Deeds, 63 to 66; and Register of Deeds, 73 to 76. “This is not an appeal for salary increases, although I’m sure my staff would appreciate that, I’m asking for an increase in rank and grade to be more equitable with other county offices,” Hines related. Chairman Ronnie Reese said the request will be discussed with County Manager Rick French and the board will determine the appropriate action.
• The September 12th board meeting was rescheduled for September 19th.
• The board approved a project budget ordinance for the Alexander Industrial Park Sewer Project in the amount of $452,330, which is funded by grants from the Appalachian Regional Commission and the NC Department of Environmental Quality. The board approved another project budget ordinance for the Rural Transformation Grant “Alexander County – Housing Our Teachers Downtown Revitalization Project” in the amount of $750,000, which is funded by an NC Commerce grant of $650,000 and $100,000 in county funds (more details about this project coming soon). The board also approved three budget amendments.
• In the County Manager’s Report, Rick French asked commissioners if they wanted to apply for an NC Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF) grant for the Bethlehem Park improvements. If awarded, the grant could total as much as $500,000, with a county match of the same amount. The park project is estimated at $1.3 million, so part of the upgrade could be completed while the grant application is submitted. Commissioners asked Mr. French to discuss the project with the engineer, gather some pricing information, and discuss the matter at the September meeting.
Mr. French said that Foundation Forward would like to set a date for a dedication ceremony for the “Charters of Freedom” monuments at the new Alexander County Courthouse Park. The date will be announced soon.
Mr. French also reported that the Gwaltney Community Building, which serves as a polling place during the general election, needs some repairs. He asked the board about providing a local grant of $1,000. It was noted that other community buildings also have needs. Mr. French said he would arrange a visit to the Gwaltney Community Building so commissioners can see the needs there.
The next meeting of the Alexander County Board of Commissioners is set for Monday, September 19 at 6:00 p.m. at the CVCC Alexander Center for Education (room #103). Regular meetings are recorded and can be viewed on the county’s Government Channel on Spectrum channel 192 or the county’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/alexandercountync. Meeting agendas, minutes, videos, and more are available on the county’s website at https://alexandercountync.gov/commissioners.