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Mecklenburg County Revaluation

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N.C. State Sen. Jeff Tarte: Reval redo must invalidate 2011 property values and start from scratch

State Sen. Jeff Tarte has told Mecklenburg County it must redo the error-plagued 2011 revaluation by essentially starting from scratch.

“This is not a ‘review’ process or an appeals process,” Tarte, a Cornelius Republican, emailed to interim County Manager Bobbie Shields late last week. “The 2011 revaluation on file is considered invalid.”

Tarte and Rep. Bill Brawley, a Republican from Matthews, authored the bill that Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law late last month, forcing the redo and refunds to over-billed property owners.

The law was pursued after a small but persistent protest over inflated values in the last revaluation swept the county for more than two years.

Last week, Shields told county commissioners that Mecklenburg has already asked for proposals from appraisal companies to conduct the do-over.

He’s said the county would “review” values of each of Mecklenburg’s 356,000 parcels by neighborhood – as he said is instructed by the law. Commissioners will select a company on Sept. 17, and the redo would begin a day later.

As neighborhoods are completed, refunds would go to overbilled taxpayers who paid 2011 bills.

But in an interview, Tarte said he was concerned Mecklenburg was pursuing the do-over by “reviewing and using appraisal work done in 2011.”

“They’ve got to do the whole revaluation completely over,” he said, “pretending the 2011 revaluation never happened.”

He said the redo could reset values for thousands of properties where values were appealed by owners.

“If you appealed and had the value of your property lowered, it still may be too high,” Tarte said. “You’ll still be able to appeal again if you think it’s wrong.”

Assistant County Manager Dena Diorio said Friday that she and Shields got a different message two weeks ago when they met with Tarte and Brawley.

The proposal request to appraisal companies, she said, stated “we want a company to come in and review the values of the 2011 revaluation.”

“We need to have a meeting of the minds with Sen. Tarte and Rep. Brawley and talk about expectations,” Diorio said. “Clearly, it is the county’s intent to comply with the law. We want to make sure that people entitled to refunds, get them.”

The law does stipulate that the county-hired company “conduct a review of all the values in the county by neighborhood and make recommendations as to the true value of the properties as of January 1 of the year of the last general reappraisal.”

But Tarte said the county can’t merely “review” values from the 2011 revaluation.

The company must appraise each parcel using “strict methodology” in the state’s Machinery Act, which governs revaluations.

“They can’t go back and spot clear things up,” he said. “The only way to get accurate values for all properties is to do the whole county over.

“They can’t pull a property (data) card and say, ‘this value looks right to me,’ and slip it back in the box. There is a methodology to do this. ”

Perlmutt: 704-358-5061
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