Southampton reassessment notices to be mailed this week

Published 9:45 am Wednesday, November 9, 2011

COURTLAND—Southampton County property owners this week will be mailed their reassessment notices for their 2012 property taxes.

Changes in assessments will vary.

“Some went up, some stayed the same and some went down,” said Harold Wingate, president of Wingate and Associates in Roanoke. “It depends on the type of property, where it is and what it is.”

The county hired Wingate and Associates to do the reassessment, which is required by law to reflect current market.

The reassessment process began in January with a study of the property sales for 2010, Wingate said. Market sales for 2010 and the first half of 2011 also were considered.

The last reassessment in the county was effective for the 2006 tax year. The field work took place in 2005. These six-year-old assessments generally do not reflect current market values.

Anyone who believes his assessment is out of line with similar properties should bring it to the attention of the Reassessment Office along with supporting facts that may be used in reconsidering the assessment. Hearings on the reassessment values will begin Monday, Nov. 14. Hearing dates and times will be shown on the reassessment notice mailed to property owners.

“If people feel like they want to come in and discuss it, the same thing can be done with commercial properties,” Wingate said. “In the county, you have a lot of old commercial properties in Ivor, Courtland and Boykins. You have some that have sold and didn’t bring in a lot (of money).”

“Then you have newer commercial (properties) that have been renovated and upgraded,” he added.

Wingate could not say if there was any particular part of the county that experienced greater increases or decreases in assessments.

“We don’t track it that way,” he said.

In collecting sales information and in the assessments, Wingate’s staff considered location, construction cost, quality of construction and condition of buildings for the market sales data to be compared with the various properties in different neighborhoods throughout the county.

Sales that were higher or lower than typical sales were not considered in the assessments. This would include family transactions and sales that took place because of pressure on the part of the buyer or seller. This can happen when there is an immediate need to raise money and time will not allow for the property to be reasonably exposed to the open market. This may, then, result in a sale for less than market value.

After the reassessment notices are mailed, printouts showing countywide assessed values will be available for public use. Copies will be available in the County Administration Building at 26022 Administration Center Drive in Courtland.

Property owners are encouraged to compare their assessments with similar properties to determine if they have been fairly assessed. In land assessments, tracts of similar size and use must be used when comparing assessments.