Cornelius residents struggling in revaluation fight
by Staff Writer
CORNELIUS – Nearly 75 residents came out to Cornelius Town Hall last week to voice their concerns about 2011 property revaluations in the hopes the town may weigh into the fight.
After receiving property revaluations in February, many Cornelius residents were quick to file an appeal after finding their properties had been reappraised at much higher values.
The Mecklenburg County Tax Assessor’s Office received a total of 36,102 first-level appeals. The appeal allows property owners to state a written case for adjusting the value of their property, according to a press release sent out by Mecklenburg County.
Many properties affected by the reappraisals are located on Cornelius’ Peninsula neighborhood, and its property owner’s association president Jim Duke said that most of the property values had been raised without rationale.
“This particular neighborhood took a big hit,” Duke said. “There doesn’t seem to be a rhyme or reason for some of the evaluations.”
According to Peninsula resident and Cornelius Commissioner Jim Bensman, some of his neighbor’s values were increased by as much as 100 percent, while some neighbors claim they were hit with even higher increases.
At the meeting, Peninsula resident Bob Deaton read a prepared resolution for those in attendance in the hopes the Cornelius Board of Commissioners would take action and help.
However, Bensman points out that the board has no power to intervene in such revaluation issues. That is the county’s jurisdiction.
A number of homeowners across the county have cried foul over their revaluations. With thousands of people asking for a repeal of their properties’ new tax values, towns were forced to estimate their tax rates and budget because the appellate process was taking so long.
Cornelius had been trying to find out for months what the evaluations are in the town, Bensman said. However, Cornelius commissioners were forced to make a decision regarding their budget based on what they thought the evaluations would be.
“The bottom line is that they have about a dozen people working on it, and about 40,000 appeals,” Bensman said.
The Mecklenburg County Tax Assessor’s Office has completed nearly 22,000 – or about 54 percent – of the appeals filed by property owners seeking an adjustment to their new property values, according to a press release.
According to Mecklenburg County spokesman Roger Kortekaas, there have been 6,675 appeals to the Board of Equalization and Review as of Nov. 1.
Of those second level appeals, 1,455 have been closed – 892 of which were reduced – lowering values by a total of $170,008,500.
If residents want to appeal the decision in their first appeal, the second level of appeals is presented in person to the Board of Equalization and Review, a panel of 15 industry experts appointed by the Mecklenburg County Board of County Commissioners.
So far 1,455 secondary appeals have been ruled on or closed, according to a press release sent out by the county.
Teams of three Board of Equalization and Review members meet every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, hearing approximately 75 cases per session.
There is a short delay between the time a case is closed and when property owners receive a decision, as the office sends its notices out in batches.
“It likely will be some time next spring before the first two appeal processes are complete,” said Assistant County Assessor Eric Anderson. Property owners then have the option of taking their appeal to the North Carolina Property Tax Commission, he said. Those property owners who appealed at any level will receive their bills shortly.
Tax payments will be due if an appeal is not yet closed, according to a press release.