Letter: Stop appeals, give us answers
by Staff Writer
CORNELIUS – In a letter to the county and state leaders, town officials said they want a moratorium on property tax revaluations until appraisers give homeowners consistent answers about process.
“We just want some answers,” said Cornelius Town Manager Anthony Roberts. “I don’t understand why it’s been so hard to give us and homeowners consistent, reliable information, but we keep having people come to us who’ve just been misinformed by some customer service rep.”
In the letter to Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners, the county board of equalization and review and N.C. Speaker of the House Thom Tillis – a Cornelius resident – Cornelius Mayor Jeff Tarte asked all pending appeals be put on hold until leaders could “assure a fair, equitable and correct revaluation process.”
Some of the fixes suggested in the letter include:
• Standards, criteria and procedures in the valuation process need to be vetted for consistency.
• Providing “adequate and clear” information to homeowners about the appeals process – suggestions included creating a flow chart with what homeowners could expect at every step in the process.
• Explaining what paperwork homeowners will need during the process.
The letter is the latest salvo in the yearlong battle between Cornelius and state appraisers, after a number of homes were given larger tax bills and homeowners have said they were given misleading, confusing or wrong information from state auditors.
In his response to Cornelius, County Commission Chairman Harold Cogdell said he would discuss the letter with commissioners and the county attorney at Tuesday’s board meeting.
Town Manager Roberts said he’s hopeful, but doesn’t expect the town will get the moratorium; the letter was more of a showy gesture to get county and state leaders’ attention about problems in the system- problems Cornelius has been trying to fix for several months.
Former Cornelius Commissioner Jim Bensman has been one of the loudest advocates for local residents. He thinks Cornelius’ letter was a good idea, but will likely go unanswered.
“… Maybe a letter will call the attention of the county commissioners. (Cornelius officials) should’ve sent this to (Charlotte City Manager) Henry Jones because (county tax assessor) Garret Alexander reports to him and what is going on is improper management of the process,” he said.
“… Unless there’s a major groundswell, I don’t know where this is going to go,” Bensman said. “It’s a step in the right direction, but is it enough? I doubt it.”
Want to hear the discussion?
The Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners are expected to discuss the revaluation process and potential fixes for any problems during the board’s Tuesday, Feb. 7 meeting. That meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center, 600 E. Fourth St.