Wake County commissioners decided last week to rework the schedule for revaluing real property.
That’s a smart move both for their financial future and for the blood pressure of average Wake Countians.
Under state law, the process of determining the value of real estate must take place at least once every eight years. The law doesn’t say towns and counties have to wait for eight years between revaulation. They may do so more frequently. The value analysts place on our property – more commonly referred to as the tax value – helps determine how much a landowner pays in property taxes.
The benefit of doing this more frequently is twofold. First, and foremost, property owners – Great Recessions notwithstanding – are almost in unison in their sticker shock when their property is revalued after an eight-year wait. That’s because in a normal economic cycle, land in Wake County has generally increased in value at a fairly rapid rate. When the property is revalued once every eight years, the change in property value can sometimes be breathtaking.
Secondly, the move allows county commissioners to realize benefits when they can access the revenue generated by growth more quickly. That puts less of a strain on existing taxpayers to pay for the growing demands of service.
Though some may view the move as a money grab on the part of county leaders, it is a chance to collect more money without impacting existing taxpayers and it eases the once-every-eight-years freak out so many people have when they see their new property values.