Average home assessment dips 5% in Franklin

Published 8:36 am Friday, April 23, 2010

FRANKLIN—Preliminary results of the city’s 2010 general reassessment of real estate indicate an average decrease in values of more than 5 percent for residential properties over the last two years.

Assessments for commercial properties fell by nearly 4 percent during the same period.

Mayor Jim Councill said it’s too early to say how the assessments will affect tax rates. He noted that the City Council cut real estate tax rates following the past two assessments when values were up in an attempt to remain “revenue neutral.”

“My hope is that we would do no less than that this year,” he said, adding that the council has to perform “a balancing act” to protect the interests of employees and property owners, as well as provide services for citizens, Councill said. “We’ve got a challenge ahead of us.”

Wampler-Eanes Appraisal Group completed the field appraisals this month, said project manager Steven Wampler.

“This is only an overall average and many properties could fall below or above the average decrease,” he said.

Wampler is scheduled to appear before the City Council Monday to give an update on the assessment process.

Brenda Rickman, Franklin’s commissioner of the revenue, said she expected a decline in property values.

“When times are good, assessments are up,” Rickman said. “When times are bad, assessments are down.”

Councilman Benny Burgess and Councill said they weren’t surprised that overall values are down.

“That just gives us the additional information that we need going into the budget process,” Councill said.

This year’s average decline in property values follows an average increase of nearly 17 percent in 2008, when assessments were last performed. The City Council reduced the real estate tax rate from 90 cents per $100 of assessed value to 77 cents following the last reassessment.

Rickman said the assessment must reflect current market values, and can’t be based on increases or decreases in value that are expected in the future.

“The sales have to back the reassessment figures,” she said.

The city will mail reassessment notices in May. Notices will list the proposed land and building values for each property as well as the total of the two values. Also listed will be a telephone number for property owners with questions or who wish to make an appointment with the assessor to discuss their assessment.

Property owners still unhappy with their assessments can come before the Board of Equalization.

“If you do nothing, it’s going to stay the way it is,” Rickman said.

She added that now is a good time for people to check the records and make sure that all information listed about their property is correct.

Property owners have until May 17 to call and make an appointment with the assessor.

The new values will be effective July 1.