10/20/06 — Duplin will take look at property values in county

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Duplin will take look at property values in county

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on October 20, 2006 1:45 PM


News-Argus Staff Writer

Duplin County residents will find out soon if their house or land has increased or decreased in value -- and if their property taxes will do the same in 2009.

Tax administrator Gary Rose said crews will be out soon to begin the property revaluation process.

"The state of North Carolina requires every county to reappraise at least every eight years," Rose said. "Some properties appreciate more than others and some depreciate.

"This is to fairly distribute the tax burden."

The last revaluation Duplin County undertook was in 2001.

"We probably had about a 30 percent tax base increase after that," Rose said.

That does not mean that the tax rate increased, just that the properties being taxed were worth more.

This time, though, Rose isn't sure how much of a revenue increase to expect.

"I'd be scared to venture a guess on that," Rose said. "I know that the tax value will go up, but the tax rate could go down."

The revaluation will not take effect until the August 2009 tax bills. Appraisers, however, will likely begin going through the county sometime after the first of the year.

Until then, Pearson's Appraisal Service, which has done the last three revaluations, will be trying to determine the county's housing and property market.

"I can't really tell you what's going on with the market right now. I feel like land will be more valuable because that's what's going on elsewhere, but the use value (of farmland) may not increase," owner Robert Pearson told the commissioners Monday after receiving the contract. "Our intentions are simply to assess all property at true market value. We're just trying to be fair because that's what it's all about."

Once the current market is established, the company's five appraisers will then begin canvassing the county.

"During the whole process they'll keep an eye on the market because it may change, but unless it's a big change, there won't be much change (in property values) between now and 2009," Rose said.

The value of a property with a building on it will be based on what kind of structure it is, its size, what it was made out of and how well its been maintained. Appraisers, however, will not be entering the buildings.

Properties without structures on them, such as farmlands, timberlands and wetlands, will be assessed based on the "highest and best use for them."

The process is scheduled for completion by fall 2008 when notices of the new property values will be mailed to each owner.

If a property owner feels his property value is wrong, there will be an appeal process.

"Our job is to be fair and accurately account for what's there, but mistakes do happen," Pearson said. "Once we send out the notices, if there are any errors, we certainly want to correct those."