11/09/08 — Duplin to hold summit on land valuation

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Duplin to hold summit on land valuation

By Steve Herring
Published in News on November 9, 2008 9:27 AM

KENANSVILLE -- Duplin County commissioners Monday will host local bankers and real estate agents in an economic summit beginning at 9 a.m. in the commissioners' meeting room in the county administration building.

The summit is the outgrowth of a public hearing last month and a subsequent board meeting where questions were raised about the schedule of values the county tax office used to arrive at property values.

The county is nearing completion of its property revaluation, which will establish tax values for the next eight years.

During the public hearing, county residents voiced concerns that the values were based on old data. Residents said there were not enough recent home sales on which to base the values.

The housing slump and economic crisis taint the values, they said. Should the housing market downturn continue, residents said they would be paying taxes on values six months or older even though property values had continued to fall.

That, they said, would mean their taxes would be higher than they should be.

Commissioners were to have approved the schedule of values on Oct. 20 to allow the tax department time to mail out property values.

They decided instead to table the issue and invite local bankers, real estate brokers and appraisers to talk with them about values.

Commissioners still have to approve the values, and it is possible the values could be adjusted before receiving board approval.

County Manager Mike Aldridge told commissioners at their Monday meeting that he had contacted area lenders and real estate agents. He said appraisers are hesitant to attend since they are "between the banks and Realtors."

The summit will be open to the public, but it is not a public hearing to receive citizen comment.

Along with information on the revaluation schedule, local values and market conditions, the board is expected to hear a review of local employment, information from the National Association of Counties, the N.C. Association of County Commissioners, the state Revenue Department and the General Assembly's fiscal research division, as well as from Commissioner David Fussell, who has raised several economic issues over the past several months.