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Manager: Revaluation not likely next year

Delay would mean tax values on most homes and businesses would not change in 2009.

By April Bethea
abethea@charlotteobserver.com

County Manager Harry Jones said Monday he doesn't think there will be enough support among county commissioners to reassess property values in 2009.

But Jones told a crowd of about 60 people at St. Paul Baptist Church that a revaluation will eventually occur – “if not this year, within the next two years.”

State law requires counties to do revaluations at least once every eight years. Mecklenburg is resetting property values for the first time since 2003. However, some commissioners and residents say the county should wait to re-evaluate property because of the unstable housing market and the potential for tax increases in a weakened economy.

Commissioners are expected to vote Dec. 2 on how to proceed with the property reassessment.

Five of the nine current or incoming commissioners told the Observer last week they were leaning toward or would vote for a delay.

The possibility of a delayed revaluation was good news to some who gathered at St. Paul Baptist for a meeting with county staff that was sponsored by District 3 Commissioner George Dunlap and the nonprofit Helping Empower Local People.

Many in attendance asked questions about whether home prices have increased in their neighborhoods and the likely impact on taxes, and what programs might be offered to help people pay their tax bills.

“It'll give people a chance to prepare,” said Cathy Brown, whose family has a home in the Belmont neighborhood.

Chuck Hicks, the county's appraiser heading the revaluation team, showed a map of District 3 that indicated where home prices have fallen slightly, including in Slater Ridge and Christenbury Hills. But prices but have risen more than 40 percent in Wesley Heights and Belmont.

Frank Weldon and his wife have lived in the Hidden Valley neighborhood for more than three decades. But he said he's worried in recent years that they wouldn't be able to keep their home, especially as new properties were built northeast Charlotte areas like NoDa.

“We are in trouble and our value is going to go up where I can't even afford” to pay the taxes, he said.

But Weldon later said he felt better after hearing the revaluation could be delayed.

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