News Column

New Hanover to examine 77,000 properties for revaluation

July 26, 2014

By Gareth McGrath, Star-News, Wilmington, N.C.



July 26--Imagine visiting more than 77,000 different locations just so you can see what's there.

That's what New Hanover County tax officials are in the midst of doing as they try to "eyeball" every property parcel in the county.

County Tax Administrator Roger Kelley said the massive project is part of the re-assessing of all taxable real estate for the 2017 tax year. New Hanover's previous revaluation took place in 2011.

He said the idea is to have the most correct information in place to begin with to, hopefully, limit the number of people appealing their new valuations, which aim to align tax values with market values.

Kelley said most appeals were the result of incorrect information -- generally something small -- to begin with.

That's, in part, because the last time there was a visit to all of the properties in the county was in 1991.

"And a lot can change over time, and yes, sometimes things can slip through the cracks," Kelley said.

But there's only so much one can see from the road or outside in general.

To that end, county assessors are going door-to-door to measure the outside and ask residents questions about the inside. Assessors will not go into the home unless specifically invited by the property owner, Kelley said.

"We don't climb fences and that kind of stuff," he said. "Once people realize that, then they're mostly receptive. They also want to make sure it's correct."

If no one is home, assessors will hang a door hanger. These door hangers will ask for specific information about the inside of the home, such as number of bedrooms and bathrooms, that can then be mailed back to the department.

If a property owner doesn't want to do that, Kelley said they also can go online and fill out -- or even just check -- the information on the tax office's website.

"If we don't hear back, we're going to assume we're correct," he said.

The website will also have a map that will be updated weekly, marking the neighborhoods the assessors are currently working in -- and what folks should look for and expect when the assessors come visiting. As of Friday, the website map showed much of the Ogden and Porters Neck areas had already been visited and that assessors were currently working in the Military Cutoff Road and Greenville Loop Road neighborhoods.

Kelley said the door-to-door visits, which started roughly 10 months ago, are scheduled to wrap up around March 2016.

"If we're wrong, tell us," he said. "Contrary to popular belief we're not the IRS trying to get people. We just want it to be fair."

Gareth McGrath: 343-2384

On Twitter: @Gman2000

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(c)2014 the Star-News (Wilmington, N.C.)

Visit the Star-News (Wilmington, N.C.) at www.starnewsonline.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services


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Source: Star-News (Wilmington, NC)


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