Southampton reassessments

Published 10:02 am Friday, January 27, 2012

COURTLAND—The company that reassessed 12,000 properties in Southampton County last year will field questions about the process during a 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 6, forum at Southampton High School.

At the request of Newsoms District Supervisor Glenn Updike, the Board during Monday’s meeting voted 7-0 to ask Wingate and Associates to attend the forum. Updike said he has heard concerns from several people after overall assessed property values increased 4.9 percent since 2010.

“Everyone wants to know how they came about it with their procedures,” Updike said.

Harold Wingate, president of the Roanoke company, said he has agreed to participate in the forum.

“I don’t have anything to hide,” Wingate said Thursday. “Even though technically we finished our work, our firm has always been there if there’s something we have to explain to property owners. We are willing to go the extra mile.”

Residents with questions are asked to e-mail or mail them to The Tidewater News by 5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 2. The e-mail address is and the mailing address is P.O. Box 497, Franklin, Va., 23851. The Tidewater News will moderate, asking Wingate the questions.

Wingate explained earlier that foreclosures were not included because assessments by law are based on market values. That means there has to be a willing buyer and willing seller, and neither can be under duress. In the case of a foreclosure, there is normally not a willing seller.

Law requires that a reassessment be done at least every six years to reflect current market values. The reassessment process began in January 2011 with a study of property sales for 2010. Market sales for 2010 and the first half of 2011 also were considered.

Wingate said comparing the 2011 reassessment with 2005 wouldn’t be fair because of additions to structures or the demolition of buildings during that period, which results in immediate changes to assessments.

About 500 Southampton County property owners had hearings in November on their new assessments. Those still unsatisfied have until Feb. 15 to file an appeal to be heard before the Board of Equalization.