- Last Updated on Saturday, 10 November 2012 15:22
- Published on Thursday, 08 November 2012 12:46
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Preparation for a real estate reassessment by Blue Ridge Mass Appraisals of Staunton is getting underway in King George and will run through most of 2013.
King George is on a four-year reassessment cycle for property values, which means that when assessments are completed, they will go into effect Jan. 1, 2014. The Code of Virginia requires each locality to periodically perform a general reassessment to determine each property’s fair market value and its equalization in value to similar properties. The last general reassessment was effective January 1, 2009.
Many real estate values had dropped in the recent past, particularly some of the higher-end properties. But it’s too early to tell whether real estate values will be up or down when this upcoming process is completed. It will be dependent on the state of the economy when the assessment is finalized over a year from now.
A contract was approved for award to Blue Ridge by the Board of Supervisors last month on Oct. 2 for the reassessment services.
County Administrator Travis Quesenberry told the board the county had received three proposals. The proposals were evaluated by a selection committee consisting of the Commissioner of Revenue Jo Ann Ando, Deputy County Administrator Donita Harper and Quesenberry.
The Blue Ridge contract for $153,075 was based on a recommendation that had took in to account proposal content, previous work experience, and meetings with the company.
The contract cost came in under budget, with Quesenberry noting the county had set aside $174,200 for the reassessment service. He also said Blue Ridge’s contract is about $50,000 less than the company had charged four years ago, adding, “It’s because they have the back-up data and information and are already familiar with our processes.”
In fact, last time around, the total cost of the assessment contract came to $203,688, with payments spanning two fiscal years.
Quesenberry told The Journal that this time the total contract amount of $153,075 has been issued in a purchase order for Blue Ridge and the entire amount has been encumbered in the current fiscal year 2012-13 budget, with no funds needed for the assessment contract in the 2013-14 budget.
When the board approved Blue Ridge last month, it was provided a tentative outline of the time frame for the project.
That indicated that a study of sales would begin last month and run through about the middle of this month, followed by field inspections to take place going forward through most of next calendar year, through about the middle of September 2013.
Right now, the next step is site visits by assessors. Blue Ridge will personally inspect each parcel of real estate in the county, including all improvements, structures and other elements of value located on the property. Those visits will enable them to update the value of all property in King George.
When Blue Ridge’s appraisers visit properties within the county, if no adult is at home they will leave a door hanger requesting additional information on the property and verifying what the taxation records show.
Near the end of the process, appraisal cards will be issued by Blue Ridge next Fall, based on their assessments and a thorough study of recent property sales of comparable properties.
The assessments will be reviewed again near the end of the process prior to preparation of change of assessment notices to be mailed out to each property owner. Property owners who disagree with their valuations will have two opportunities to dispute them.
First, they will be able to schedule an appointment to meet with the Blue Ridge assessors to discuss the values in late 2013. That information will be contained in the assessment notices.
In January 2014, members proposed for a Board of Equalization will by nominated by the Board of Supervisors from county residents, to be appointed by the Circuit Court. That equalization board will convene to further consider appeals of the assessments.
The new assessments will affect values and tax rates beginning with the first half tax bill payable in June 2014.