11/04/10 — County's schedule of values gets OK

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County's schedule of values gets OK

By Steve Herring
Published in News on November 4, 2010 1:46 PM

Wayne County's new schedule of real property values were approved by commissioners Tuesday morning following a brief public hearing during which a Dudley man questioned whether board members knew what they were doing.

Jim Barnwell of Dudley said he and several other people went to the county tax office to find out what his property value will be, only to get the "run-around" and no information.

Barnwell said he thought he should be able to use the schedule to come up with a value.

That is not how it works, Wayne County Tax Administrator David Ward said.

The schedules of value is simply a base cost figure, Ward said. It is one of several factors that figure in to determine a property's value. Other factors include depreciation and neighborhood, Ward said.

Ward said the schedules comprise a manual that gives appraisers a starting point as to how to value a home. He added that what people need to pay attention to is the property value notices they will receive sometime in late March or early April.

Copies of the schedules are available for public inspection in the county tax office on the first floor of the courthouse annex.

Ward also said in the interview that people need to remember that the values are based on the county's economy and costs and not on the economy in other parts of the state or country, he said.

The notification will include paperwork with which to file an informal appeal. Once an informal appeal is filed, the tax office will review the property.

If the tax office does not change the value, the taxpayer may appeal to the county commissioners sitting as the Board of Equalization and Review.

Property values will be based on the property's market value as of Jan. 1, 2011. The taxes cannot be applied to the property until county commissioners adopt a tax rate.

Four notices about the schedule of values will be published over a two-month period on Nov. 17 and 24 and Dec. 1 and 8.

Dec. 17 is the final day that the schedules can be appealed.

In other business Tuesday, the board agreed to appropriate $31,250 payable over two years to cover membership on North Carolina's Eastern Region Military Growth Task Force that was created in 2007.

The county currently has an ex officio seat on the task force. Full membership will give the county five voting seats along with one member on the executive committee. Continued membership will cost the county about $10,000 annually, County Manager Lee Smith said.

Commissioner J.D. Evans asked if all five seats would be filled by commissioners. Commissioner Steve Keen said at least one or two seats should be filled by commissioners. He also tried to press board Chairman Jack Best on the question.

"I will appoint them," Best said.

Best said who would serve would be "figured out" later after talking with people who want to serve.

Commissioner Andy Anderson said the original purpose of the task force was to focus on the counties surrounding Cherry Point and Camp Lejeune. Now that the initial work has been completed, the process is being extended to other counties in eastern North Carolina, he said.

The board tables action on a language access plan being required by the federal government for Community Development Block grants.

The plan requires that documents associated with the grants be translated into Spanish.

Smith said it is unclear which documents would have to be translated. If it applies to documents that already exist in electronic form, then there should be no problem, he said.

However, if it refers to filing cabinets full of documents then the process would not only be time-consuming, but costly as well, he said. In that case, all of the documents would have to be retyped and converted into an electronic form.

"We are being asked to do something totally unknown," Anderson said.

Anderson also questioned whether this meant that the documents would have to be translated into other languages in the future.

That is a possibly depending on what census figures reveal, Smith said.

If the plan is not adopted, the county could be denied future Community Development grant funding.

Best asked Smith to review the plan and report back to the board.

Wayne County Veterans Services Director LaShaunne Moore told commissioners that her office is searching for the county's oldest living veteran.

Each county in the state has been asked to select a veteran who will be represented by a bronze handcast on the "Wall of Oath" in the N.C. Veterans Park in Fayetteville.

The park is scheduled to open next summer.

People should contact Ms. Moore at 731-1490 or send e-mail to LaShaunne.Moore@waynegov.com.

Nov. 15 at 5 p.m. is the deadline for making a nomination.

Two subdivision plats, both recommended by the Planning Board, were approved by commissioners.

The plats were for:

* Bermuda Run, section one final, owner/developer KW2 Inc., for four lots on the north side of Conover Road in New Hope Township

* Timberlake, final, J&N Developers LLC, 20 lots on the south side of Dollard Town Road at its intersection with Sutton's Run.

The board scheduled a Nov. 18 meeting at 12:30 p.m. at the Goldsboro Country Club. County Manager Lee Smith will give a report on a preliminary capital project plan for the county.

Commissioners met in closed session for 45 minutes. The closed-door session was called for attorney-client privilege. However, before the board left the room, Commissioner Andy Anderson asked that the closed session include property purchase.

The board returned to open session, but took no action.