Reassessment answers

Published 9:18 am Wednesday, February 1, 2012

On Monday, Feb. 6, at the request of the Southampton County supervisors, The Tidewater News will moderate a public forum on the recent property reassessments.

The 7 p.m. forum in the Southampton High School auditorium will feature questions submitted by readers and prepared by The Tidewater News’ staff. They will be posed to Harold Wingate, president of Wingate and Associates, the Roanoke-based firm hired to handle Southampton County’s 2011 property reassessments.

Questions and comments will not be taken from those in attendance.

Property reassessment is always a touchy subject, one that is sure to spark healthy debate regardless of the economic climate. However, combine one of the worst housing markets in memory with an overall increase of nearly 5 percent in county property values, and that spark can lead to a raging inferno.

The topic has become just that for disgruntled county residents among those who saw their property values, and therefore their real estate taxes, go up.

We salute the Board of Supervisors for suggesting this forum, and we commend Mr. Wingate for participating. Yet with the number of unanswered questions that remain now that the reassessments have been completed, perhaps this forum would have been more helpful had it been held last fall.

Regardless, we hope our readers can walk away from the discussion with a better understanding on how property values have gone up in such a depressed real estate market. We at The Tidewater News are curious as well.