Board rejects revaluation proposal

Published 8:16 pm Monday, June 10, 2013

An effort to put extra money into Beaufort County’s 2013-2014 budget to help start the property revaluation process early failed during last week’s Board of Commissioners meeting.

Commissioner Stan Deatherage’s motion to provide the funding — by dipping into the county’s fund balance — failed when commissioners Al Klemm, Robert Belcher, Ed Booth and board Chairman Jerry Langley voted against it. Commissioners Gary Brinn and Hood Richardson voted for the motion.

State law requires revaluation at least every eight years. The county’s last revaluation in 2010 resulted in some taxpayers and commissioners complaining that those revaluations were too high in many cases and did not reflect the true market valued of those properties.

Deatherage sought to begin revaluation no later than 2016.

“We need to ’fess up and say to the people that we’ve got values in this county that are completely out of whack with what the real values are. It’s not our fault. It’s not our appraiser’s fault. It’s not our tax assessor’s fault. It’s just a condition what is. What is is in a state of change. We need to figure out how we can best approach getting these values back in line before the state of North Carolina tells us we’re way out of whack. At that point, we may not have the opportunity to begin putting money away. … If we can start putting the money away now, we’re not only saying to the public we’re moving forward, we’re saying to our tax assessor and our new tax collector we’re moving forward,” Deatherage said.

Jim Chrisman, the county’s finance officer, reminded the board that state law requires a county to set aside part of its fund balance each year to help pay for a revaluation. Chrisman said the county can set aside more money each year for revaluation than the law requires.

Currently, the county is setting aside about $125,000 each year for the next revaluation.

“What I’m looking for is this board to commit to revaluation sooner rather than later. I want to move with all haste to get it done,” Deatherage said.

Performing a revaluation before 2018 would help bring property values more in line with true market values and give many property owners a break on their property taxes before 2018, the latest the next revaluation could occur.

Brinn said it’s time to provide taxpayers that break by performing the revaluation as soon as possible.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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