Few appeal IOW property reassessments

Published 10:12 am Friday, September 7, 2012

WINDSOR—Robert Whitehead wonders why the recent reassessment on his Windsor home is $100,000 higher than it was appraised for one month ago.

The 71-year-old is among the 23 owners of Isle of Wight County’s 20,000 properties, or 1/10 of a percent, who will appeal assessments to the County Board of Equalization on Wednesday, Sept. 19, at the courthouse.

Roanoke-based Wampler-Eanes Appraisal Group assessed Whitehead’s 1,700-square-foot home at 203 Hidden Acres Circle at $266,000. A Smithfield company appraised it at $168,000. During the last reassessment in 2010, the home was valued at $268,500.

“I’m just questioning why there’s such a big difference in it,” said Whitehead, a Newport News Shipbuilding retiree. “This is not the first time I’ve challenged an assessment. The county is hurting for money and they’re going to try to get it anyway they can.”

With the new assessment, Whitehead can expect to pay a property tax bill of $1,730. Should officials agree with a $168,000 assessment, his bill would be $1,092.

County property values fell by an average of 6 percent, said Commissioner of the Revenue Gerald Gwaltney. For example, a home valued at $200,000 in 2010 is valued at $188,000 now.

Seventy-eight appeals were heard after the 2010 reassessment when property values increased by about 10 percent.

“Values are driven by sales,” Gwaltney said.

Foreclosure sales weren’t included as part of the reassessment. Unlike Franklin, where the foreclosures made up 41 percent of sales and were included as sales for the city’s reassessment, IOW’s foreclosure rate was 10 percent.

The decrease in overall property assessments will lead to about a $1.7 million shortfall in tax revenue, Gwaltney said. To make up the money, the Board of Supervisors is considering a four-cent real estate tax rate increase.

The rate increase coupled with the average decrease in value would results in an average $3 decrease in real estate tax bills, Gwaltney said. For example, the owner of a $200,000 would pay $1,300 under the current tax rate and the 2010 assessed value, however; the same homeowner would pay $1,297 in taxes under the proposed tax rate increase and the 2012 assessed value.

The Board of Supervisors will have a public hearing on the proposed tax increase at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20, at the courthouse.