University City

State orders revaluation for Union County by 2015

Union County has just been told by the state that it must do a property revaluation by 2015.

The move was triggered by the state’s recent sales assessment ratio study, done in all 100 counties, which compares property’s assessed value to the sales prices. Union County was the only county to hit the threshold that triggers automatic revaluation within three years.

The county’s ratio was 119.78, meaning that on average, properties were assessed at nearly 20 percent above market levels.

The county last had a revaluation in 2008, when Union County had a booming housing market and was one of the fastest growing counties in the state. But then the recession hit, and the housing market took a beating.

Revaluations are required at least once every eight years, but can be done more frequently.

In 2011, county commissioners voted to rescind a planned 2012 revaluation, fearing doing so would lead to a big tax hike to offset revenue lost from a smaller tax base. At the time, commissioners did not set a date for a revaluation, but knew it had to occur by 2016, eight years after its last revaluation.

It’s not yet known what impact the new revaluation will have on the tax rate.

Last year, county tax officials said a revaluation in 2012 probably would have decreased the tax rate by 14 percent and might have required a 10-cent increase in the tax rate to make up for lost revenue.

Commissioners are expected to address the revaluation issue at a meeting Monday night.