County tax administrator Dwane Brinson brought the Orange County Board of Commissioners up to speed last week on the 2017 property revaluation process.
The commissioners will get a more detailed report Feb. 21 before the tax office mails out property tax notices.
The revaluation – the county’s first since Jan. 1, 2009 – will set new tax values for residential and commercial property. The state requires a revaluation at least once every eight years. Orange County previously was on a four-year schedule, but that was delayed because of the recession and fluctuating local home sales.
Brinson has said the county could return to a four-year revaluation cycle for land values; taxes on other property, such as cars and boats, are revalued each year.
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The tax office started the land revaluation process in 2014 and has assessed roughly 55,000 parcels to reflect all market-value home sales in the county, Brinson said. A private firm evaluated the county’s commercial properties, he said.
“If you think about the last time you bought a house, or the last time you were involved in a house transaction, you may have paid $2,000 more for that house, the seller may have given it to you for $2,000 less,” Brinson said. “It’s not one finite point, depending on the buyer, depending on the seller, depending on the timing. The transaction costs may be different, but there’s always that range in market value.”
Property owners who disagree with their new property values will be able to file an appeal online or in person at the tax office on South Cameron Street in Hillsborough by April 30. The Board of Equalization and Review will begin hearing appeals May 1.
Commissioners Chairman Mark Dorosin took issue with how Chapel Hill News columnist and local Realtor Mark Zimmerman characterized the revaluation in the Feb. 5 edition “as a process where there are winners and losers.”
“That’s just not accurate, and I just want to be clear that what this process does or is designed to do is accurately reflect the value of the property, so that people are charged, as (Brinson) said, equitably and fairly in the most accurate way possible,” Dorosin said. “Some people’s evaluations are going to go up and some people’s evaluations are going to go down, but everybody is a winner, because we’re all going to be having more accurate assessments of what the properties in Orange County are worth.”