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Board hears reassessment complaints

A large group of Pulaski County citizens called Monday night for their Board of Supervisors to reject recent property reassessments by Wingate Appraisal Service.
An overflowing crowd turned out at last night’s meeting to complain about their recent property value reassessments, saying there is no way the valuations put on their properties could be correct.
One 82-year-old citizen drew a round of applause and laughter when he summed up his feelings on local reassessment figures. He said he hoped he wouldn’t insult or offend anyone with his comments.
“I’m always trying to play ball with the county. I pay my taxes on time and you don’t need to build a jail for me because I’m not going to do nothing wrong,” Charles Hayes said. “But I feel like the county has stuck the bat up [me].”
The disabled World War II veteran said he didn’t attend the meeting to say what the supervisors can or can’t do, but he is praying the board will do the “right and proper thing” for its citizens.
Even Massie District Supervisor Frank Conner questioned the accuracy of values placed on county property during the reassessment. He asked appraiser Harold Wingate whether October’s fall in property values nationwide was taken into account when the assessments were prepared.
Wingate said the drop in property values reported nationally were not seen locally when the appraisal was conducted. “You can’t relate national statistics to Pulaski,” he said, noting that the property values were based on local sale prices only, not sales anywhere else.
Wingate said about 1,100 citizens came to a series of “lively” appraisal hearings held over the past few weeks. The purpose of the hearings is to allow residents to present the appraisal company with evidence of something that was missed when the property value was appraised.
He said he is the first to admit the appraisals are not perfect.
Conner questioned how some of the values that were put on properties in his neighborhood could be accurate when not a single house for sale in that area has been sold in the past year. “How do you put that kind of value on something you can’t sell?” he asked.
Wingate said state law requires valuations to be based on a sale between a willing buyer and a willing seller. He said foreclosures can’t be considered, and there is nothing in the law addressing the percentage of increase from one reassessment to the next.
Robinson District Supervisor Charles Bopp asked whether assessors do their homework before visiting a property. He said property on his farm that is “straight up and down” was listed as cropland and increased by $300,000. “Surely (the appraiser) could see that’s not able to be used as crop land.
Several residents said they watched appraisers pass through their neighborhoods. They charged that the appraisers never got out of their cars to look at the property before writing something down and sticking a card on the door announcing their visit.
At least one resident said no one contacted him for permission to enter upon his posted property, and no one left a calling card either. He questioned whether the appraiser even went to his property.
Most of those who addressed the board last night complained about assessment increases of double to 500 percent. Some said they are concerned people will be forced off their land due to an inability to pay taxes, even if the tax rate is reduced.
Thomas Graham of Wilderness Road said Pulaski County must be “really special” if it is not feeling the pinch of falling home sales like the rest of the nation. He pointed out that “everything is going up” except for wages.
“A house is worth what you can sell it for,” Graham added.
Jackie Hunter said she is concerned that a Wingate employee told her during the appraisal hearing that there are no set criteria for evaluating the land values, which saw the greatest increase.
One man said he was assessed $5,000 for a roofless, useless cinderblock building on his property.
Several property owners called for the supervisors to reject this assessment and hire someone else to redo it.
Conner said County Attorney Tom McCarthy is supposed to get back with him on what the supervisors can do about this appraisal. However, he pointed out it would cost about half a million dollars to hire someone else to have them reassessed, and “we might get the same figures.”

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Board hears reassessment complaints

A large group of Pulaski County citizens called Monday night for their Board of Supervisors to reject recent property reassessments by Wingate Appraisal Service.
An overflowing crowd turned out at last night’s meeting to complain about their recent property value reassessments, saying there is no way the valuations put on their properties could be correct.
One 82-year-old citizen drew a round of applause and laughter when he summed up his feelings on local reassessment figures. He said he hoped he wouldn’t insult or offend anyone with his comments.
“I’m always trying to play ball with the county. I pay my taxes on time and you don’t need to build a jail for me because I’m not going to do nothing wrong,” Charles Hayes said. “But I feel like the county has stuck the bat up [me].”
The disabled World War II veteran said he didn’t attend the meeting to say what the supervisors can or can’t do, but he is praying the board will do the “right and proper thing” for its citizens.
Even Massie District Supervisor Frank Conner questioned the accuracy of values placed on county property during the reassessment. He asked appraiser Harold Wingate whether October’s fall in property values nationwide was taken into account when the assessments were prepared.
Wingate said the drop in property values reported nationally were not seen locally when the appraisal was conducted. “You can’t relate national statistics to Pulaski,” he said, noting that the property values were based on local sale prices only, not sales anywhere else.
Wingate said about 1,100 citizens came to a series of “lively” appraisal hearings held over the past few weeks. The purpose of the hearings is to allow residents to present the appraisal company with evidence of something that was missed when the property value was appraised.
He said he is the first to admit the appraisals are not perfect.
Conner questioned how some of the values that were put on properties in his neighborhood could be accurate when not a single house for sale in that area has been sold in the past year. “How do you put that kind of value on something you can’t sell?” he asked.
Wingate said state law requires valuations to be based on a sale between a willing buyer and a willing seller. He said foreclosures can’t be considered, and there is nothing in the law addressing the percentage of increase from one reassessment to the next.
Robinson District Supervisor Charles Bopp asked whether assessors do their homework before visiting a property. He said property on his farm that is “straight up and down” was listed as cropland and increased by $300,000. “Surely (the appraiser) could see that’s not able to be used as crop land.
Several residents said they watched appraisers pass through their neighborhoods. They charged that the appraisers never got out of their cars to look at the property before writing something down and sticking a card on the door announcing their visit.
At least one resident said no one contacted him for permission to enter upon his posted property, and no one left a calling card either. He questioned whether the appraiser even went to his property.
Most of those who addressed the board last night complained about assessment increases of double to 500 percent. Some said they are concerned people will be forced off their land due to an inability to pay taxes, even if the tax rate is reduced.
Thomas Graham of Wilderness Road said Pulaski County must be “really special” if it is not feeling the pinch of falling home sales like the rest of the nation. He pointed out that “everything is going up” except for wages.
“A house is worth what you can sell it for,” Graham added.
Jackie Hunter said she is concerned that a Wingate employee told her during the appraisal hearing that there are no set criteria for evaluating the land values, which saw the greatest increase.
One man said he was assessed $5,000 for a roofless, useless cinderblock building on his property.
Several property owners called for the supervisors to reject this assessment and hire someone else to redo it.
Conner said County Attorney Tom McCarthy is supposed to get back with him on what the supervisors can do about this appraisal. However, he pointed out it would cost about half a million dollars to hire someone else to have them reassessed, and “we might get the same figures.”

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