The chairman of the Citizens Revaluation Advisory Committee told Mecklenburg County commissioners Wednesday that a study on the much-criticized 2011 property reassessment will represent concerns of property owners.
It will be thorough and your constituents will have been heard, CRAC chairman Tom Derham said after commissioners were updated on the studys process by Wilson-based Pearsons Appraisal Service.
CRAC was established to oversee a portion of the revaluation and subsequently asked to make sure Pearsons was meeting the projects scope.
I am satisfied theyre working very hard on an aggressive schedule and they are going to give a clear picture of whether standards were properly met and where things can be improved, Derham said after appearing before the board. They are satisfying the scope of the project.
Commissioners hired Pearsons in July after county officials were bombarded with criticisms concerning the accuracy and legality of the 2011 revaluation. Mecklenburg officials have acknowledged the county made mistakes in some communications to homeowners about tax values, but for the most part they had confidence in the revaluation.
The review has been applauded by many homeowners despite county officials stressing it couldnt result in a redo of the entire 2011 appraisal.
Wednesday, Emmett Curl, Pearsons project manager, gave commissioners the same update CRAC got last week. It is part of a series of meetings with the county and property owners before a final report is submitted on Nov. 20 or potentially a week later.
Curl said the board can expect a report with clearly written findings and recommendations to improve future revaluations.
In preparing the report, he said Pearsons reviewed 151 randomly picked neighborhoods throughout the county, and 52 more neighborhoods that experienced the highest land value increases. They also reviewed 375 random records of individual properties.
He provided no findings or key themes.
But last week commission Chairman Harold Cogdell told the Observer the preliminary findings may include some neighborhoods where there were possible inequities that could force new assessments.
Cogdell stressed Wednesday night that he hadnt seen the report, or been briefed by Pearsons. He said he based his information on discussions with county staff.
If values are altered, most homeowners wont see a change in tax bills until the year the new appraisals take effect the earliest in 2013. The only exceptions would be properties still under appeal from 2011 or 2012.
Cogdell also said he was told by county staff that there would be recommendations to improve communications between the county and residents, and changes to the informal appeals process.
He said he wants the board to address as much as possible any corrective measures recommended by Pearsons.
The board is scheduled to receive Pearsons detailed findings and recommendations Tuesday. Pearsons will then meet with residents in each of the six commission districts before Nov. 20.
County Manager Harry Jones suggested the board may be cutting it close to hear details of the report on Tuesday and then take action on recommendations a week later.
He said the board could add a meeting during the last week of November, before newly elected board members are sworn in Dec. 3.
The board took no action on Joness suggestion. It would need to give a 48-hour notice for the added meeting, Jones said.
In other business:
• Commissioners approved a public hearing at the Nov. 20 meeting to discuss renaming the countys health department building at 249 Billingsley Road for the late commissioner Neil Cooksey, who died in mid-October. The hearing will begin at 6:30 p.m.
• The board also approved a resolution proclaiming November as Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month.
That is the disease that killed Cooksey and that County Manager Harry Jones is battling.