07/21/09 — Duplin residents upset over revaluation

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Duplin residents upset over revaluation

By Catharin Shepard
Published in News on July 21, 2009 1:46 PM

KENANSVILLE -- More people than usual are contesting the revaluation of their property this year, Duplin County tax officials say.

"This is the first time we've had more than a handful apply (for an appeal)," county Tax Administrator Gary Rose said.

At a meeting of the county Board of Commissioners on Monday, county resident William Sanderson complained about the increase in value of 15 acres of land he bought in 2001. At that time it was valued at $7,000.

Eight years later, the same acreage, described by Sanderson as usable only for growing timber, is now worth $28,400, revaluation officials have determined.

Sanderson asked commissioners why the increase was so large.

"I would like to ask somebody who knows why this property is so much more valuable in a down year," he said.

Rose recommended to value Sanderson's property at $16,100 instead of the originally proposed $28,500, but even that was pricey for the parcel, its owner felt. Commissioner David Fussell made a motion to value Sanderson's property at $500 an acre.

"We need to be very, very lenient. As you know, people are having a hard time," Fussell said.

But Fussell's motion called into question the board's role in setting property values. Commissioner Reginald Wells said the commissioners should leave the assessment to its team of appraisers.

Fussell's motion did not receive a second and the commissioners did not vote on it. A later motion to confirm the valuations presented by Rose was seconded and was approved 4-1, with Fussell dissenting.

Citizens who disagree with the revaluation can still appeal to the state.

The last property revaluation in Duplin County prior to the 2008 assessment was in 2001. State law requires the revaluation of property at least every eight years.

In other business, the commissioners voted unanimously to rename the Duplin Commons Agricultural Build-ing in honor of Lois G. Britt, a strong proponent of agriculture.

The late Mrs. Britt was the first woman to serve as director of the state Extension Service in Duplin County. She worked with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service for 34 years, served on the N.C. State University Board of Visitors and the University of North Carolina Board of Governors and continued to work in agriculture after retirement until her death. She received the North Carolina Pork Council's Hall of Fame Award, the National Pork Hall of Fame Award, the North Carolina 4-H Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents Distinguished Services Award and the Distinguished Alumnus for Agriculture by the N.C. State University College of Agriculture.

A portrait of Mrs. Britt, provided by her family, will be placed prominently in the Lois G. Britt Agricultural Center and signs with the center's new name will be erected in front of the building.

The commissioners also acted to prevent illegal solid waste dumping at the county's 15 solid waste sites. The board voted to swear in Bee Barnette as the new county solid waste code enforcer. Barnette was sworn in by County Manager Mike Aldridge. Barnette was also authorized to hire a deputy to help enforce the county's solid waste ordinance.

Dr. Linda Recio and staff of Evergreen Solutions, LLC will be in Duplin July 29-31 to interview department heads for the county performance audit. She will also meet with each commissioner at the time.

A public forum will be held 9:15 a.m. at the August 3 commissioners' meeting for citizens to comment on the audit. Dr. Recio will also be present at the meeting to take public comments.