2018-08-29 / News

Board of assessors mails out assessment notices

From Staff Reports

The Burke County Board of Assessors has mailed the 2018 Annual Notice of Assessment to all Burke County property owners, and the County’s Chief Appraiser, Phillip Wren, recommends recipients pay close attention to this year’s notice.

Wren says that his office has completed a three-year process of physically reviewing every residential parcel in the county, primarily through the aid of a third-party contractor. With that task completed, updates were made to several components or “schedules” that produce values for various types of property in the county. Adjustments were also made to account for the recent rise in sale prices for homes and certain types of property in county.

“Changes in the market affect a property’s value,” Wren explained, “and we have to make adjustments to account for those market changes.As the economy continues to improve and sale prices increase, the value of similar properties will increase as well.”

Wren readily admits that property taxation is a complicated process that can be difficult for some property owners to wrap their minds around.

“The short of it,” he said, “is that some people’s property values have gone up and some have gone down.”

Wren encourages property owners to review their notices and contact his office with any questions they might have or to get a better explanation of their changes in value.

“It’s not uncommon for a property owner to receive their Assessment Notice and toss it on a desk or the cab of their truck and forget about it until they get their tax bill at the end of the year,” he said. “At that point, it’s too late to question the value. The deadline to appeal has passed and the tax bill is final.”

Wren is also quick to remind property owners that his office is tasked with determining a property’s value; they do not, however, have any control over tax rates.

“State law allows you to appeal your property’s value but we can’t do anything about your tax bill,” he said.

Wren noted that oftentimes a property owner will contact his office just to say their tax bill is too high or believe that they can negotiate or haggle over their property’s value. Wren says that’s not how the appeal process works and property owners will need evidence to support any change in value, whether it be up or down.

“People will call us to complain their value went down and want us to just change it back, but that’s not how it works. A lot of work has gone into compiling this data to determine property values. I know people sometimes think we just pull these numbers out of thin air but I can assure taxpayers that’s not the case.”

The deadline to appeal 2018 Assessment Notices is Sept. 28, 2018. You can contact the office of the Board of Assessors at 706-554-2607 or visit their office located in at 191 Court St., behind the courthouse, in downtown Waynesboro. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday thru Friday.

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