Erin Smith Staff writer
March 12, 2014
ELIZABETHTOWN - The Bladen County Board of Commissioners heard an update this week from Timothy Cain regarding the county’s revaluation process.
Bladen County Tax Administrator Chris Ellis said on Wednesday that the staff is “almost in the midst of the doing the field reviews” and anticipates having all field reviews completed sometime in June or July.
“We are projecting the field review to be over by the end of June,” said Ellis. “Teams are canvassing the entire county.”
Ellis said evaluation teams are reviewing every structure and looking”at everything” with the intent of ensuring accuracy of the records that are on file in the tax office. He added that if the evaluation team finds a property where a structure has been removed, but the structure still shows up on the tax records, it will be noted and the staff can update the tax file to reflect the change. Ellis said the same policy will be used if a structure has been added to a property but is not reflected on the tax records — it will be noted and added to the file.
The revaluation teams are performing external reviews of the properties they visit. The teams are also leaving door hangers notifying residents about the process and giving them instructions what to do if they have questions about the process, according to Ellis.
“Once that process is complete, we are still in the office reviewing sales,” said Ellis.
He added that his staff is currently in the process of reviewing sales and compiling sales data for the county.
Ellis said reviewing the sales data includes things such as reviewing the deeds to see at what rate the property is selling and getting an understanding of what the market is doing.
“We’re talking with realtors to see what they are seeing,” said Ellis.
He said that he and Cain also reviewed the process of delineating ares meaning that they are grouping like properties together.
“We want to use sales to compare to like neighborhoods,” said Ellis.
He said at the time, behind the scenes, the staff is also working on building a schedule of values. Ellis said those schedules will include things such as the price of land, the price of a new homes, etc.
“We get that from studying the market, talking with realtors, retailers and such,” said Ellis.
Ellis said the taxpayers will receive a notice of value when the process is completed. Ellis anticipated those being sent in December.
Ellis said the last revaluation of property in the county was performed in 2007 but after the revaluation was completed the real estate market went down, but the N.C. General Statutes don’t allow the counties to make adjustments to valuations based on the market changes. The schedule set by the General Assembly is every eight years, according to Ellis.
“There are going to be some changes,” said Ellis of the process.
He added that not all areas of the county will see the same rate of change. Ellis said some areas may see very little change while other areas may see more changes.
Ellis said that he anticipates being able to present the schedule for changes to the board sometime in August. He said when the schedule of values is ready it will be advertised in the paper and be open for public inspection prior to the commissioners’ meeting. Once people have inspected the schedule of values, they can come to the commissioners’ meeting and express any concerns they may have.
Once the commissioners approve the schedule of values, then the staff can begin printing the notices, according to Ellis.