CORNELIUS — In an effort to right a wrong, town staff will pay more in postage than the check some residents will receive is worth.
Cornelius commissioners approved sending out $6,500 in refunds March 17 to more than 300 residents whose 2011 home values were deemed inflated.
The effort is part of a redo of the 2011 revaluation as required by lawmakers. Since October, Mecklenburg County Tax Assessor Ken Joyner and Pearson’s Appraisal Service have worked to re-evaluate every property and provide new estimates, which serve as the basis for county and city property taxes.
This wave of refunds is one of many, said Cornelius Finance Director Jackie Huffman, who expects more at each meeting for the next few months.
This list encompassed only homeowners receiving one year of payments, though residents who have owned their homes since 2011 could be eligible for money and interest for every year.
“The way the legislation was written is that whoever the owner is on the date it gets paid gets the refund,” Joyner explained.
Recipients get two checks, one for the county taxes and the other for the town tax portion. The Cornelius board only approves the town’s portion, which for this group the majority of refunds comes to less than $10. Some are as little as 28 cents. Only 10 people gained more than $100. The top recipient gets $985.
“We asked legislature attorneys if there is a minimum we have to send or if we can offer a credit for the next year, but because it’s the owner on the date that it was paid, there is no latitude,” Joyner said.
The revaluation process is slated to go through the end of the year, though a lot of the Lake Norman area was completed first.
Many properties' values have remained the same, though there are neighborhoods whose residents should expect to see much larger checks in the coming months. Other home values increased.
“We are seeing parcels out in the field who have added garages or added floors and they are going up,” Joyner said.
Residents can appeal their new values. So far of the nearly 75,000 notices sent out in the county, only 500 people have appealed.
“I’ve been here not quite six months, but we are making major changes to make sure everyone has at least a fair and equal assessment,” Joyner said.