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Board hears reassessment complaints

For the second month in a row, Pulaski County citizens packed the board of supervisors meeting Monday night, calling for the board to reject recent property reassessments.
Laura Walters presented the board with a petition she said was signed by 200 taxpayers, many of who own property in the Claytor Lake area.
“We ask for a task force to check into these assessments and we ask for a reduction in the tax rate,” said Walters, who was representing the petitioners.
Walters called the assessments “inflated” and said the petitioners believe they area being “penalized for the view” they have at the lake.
She said 40 percent to 200 percent increases in property values are not only “unrealistic,” but also are “unreasonable” given the present economy.
According to the group, few properties have sold in the lake area over the past year. The ones that have sold went for much less than expected and, in many cases, homes have simply been taken off the market.
Tom Stafford, a Claytor Lake resident, said the assessments “do not reflect what’s happening in the marketplace…. A lot of people are going to have to try to find somebody to buy these properties, because they can’t afford to keep them” if the current assessments stand.
Stafford called for the county to cut back its budget too because “it’s not realistic to maintain the status quo in this environment.”
Jimmy D. Bishop said he and his wife returned to Pulaski County after being gone for 42 years to “build a home and live the rest of our lives here.” He said it was a dream of his to move back home, but with these new property assessments, they now face the possibility of losing that dream.
“We look out to you (Pulaski County Board of Supervisors) to look out for us and we hope you will,” Bishop added.
Donald Vaught, a Wythe County deputy in his 30s, said he bought property on Claytor Lake as an investment for his retirement. However, he said his heart “stopped” when he saw the assessment on the property. He said the proposed assessments would result in unfair taxing. Whether he ultimately becomes a resident of Pulaski or Wythe county will be determined by the outcome of this assessment, he noted.
According to Clark Greene, his lake property in the Newbern area increased in value by $180,000. He built his 1,100-square-foot home himself 28 years ago at a cost of $45,000 and this assessment now values it at more than $300,000.
Greene said he wants the appraisers to tell him how they reached that value.
“The average working person can’t take that kind of increase,” Greene added. He said he is “mad” and he expects the supervisors to get him “unmad.”
One woman said she has been trying, to no avail, to get someone to tell her how they determined the value of her one-third-acre tract, which doubled in value. She noted all she and her husband did after buying the property is clean up trash. She called for “accountability” by the assessors for how they reached their conclusions, “since we (taxpayers) employed them.”
J.R. Shrewsbury, who said he is 77 years old, indicated the nation isn’t in a recession, “we’re in a depression. …I feel like I’m being robbed and I’m not going to stand for it,” he added.
Colleen Oakly suggested the assessors apparently think local residents are “too stupid to know what’s going on around us.”
Asked whether the appraisers have been paid, County Administrator Pete Huber said they have. However, Tuesday morning Huber called The Southwest Times to say only a portion of the bill has been paid.
E.W. Harless of Dublin said the only way for the county to “fix this” is to waste money by throwing out the reassessment. He suggested the county wait another year to conduct a new assessment to see what the economy does.
Huber said state code calls for a reassessment every four years, but they can be done every six years instead. He said the county is at five years now.
Harless said he feels that’s what the supervisors are going to have to do “to pretty much stop a public hanging.”

Board hears reassessment complaints

For the second month in a row, Pulaski County citizens packed the board of supervisors meeting Monday night, calling for the board to reject recent property reassessments.
Laura Walters presented the board with a petition she said was signed by 200 taxpayers, many of who own property in the Claytor Lake area.
“We ask for a task force to check into these assessments and we ask for a reduction in the tax rate,” said Walters, who was representing the petitioners.
Walters called the assessments “inflated” and said the petitioners believe they area being “penalized for the view” they have at the lake.
She said 40 percent to 200 percent increases in property values are not only “unrealistic,” but also are “unreasonable” given the present economy.
According to the group, few properties have sold in the lake area over the past year. The ones that have sold went for much less than expected and, in many cases, homes have simply been taken off the market.
Tom Stafford, a Claytor Lake resident, said the assessments “do not reflect what’s happening in the marketplace…. A lot of people are going to have to try to find somebody to buy these properties, because they can’t afford to keep them” if the current assessments stand.
Stafford called for the county to cut back its budget too because “it’s not realistic to maintain the status quo in this environment.”
Jimmy D. Bishop said he and his wife returned to Pulaski County after being gone for 42 years to “build a home and live the rest of our lives here.” He said it was a dream of his to move back home, but with these new property assessments, they now face the possibility of losing that dream.
“We look out to you (Pulaski County Board of Supervisors) to look out for us and we hope you will,” Bishop added.
Donald Vaught, a Wythe County deputy in his 30s, said he bought property on Claytor Lake as an investment for his retirement. However, he said his heart “stopped” when he saw the assessment on the property. He said the proposed assessments would result in unfair taxing. Whether he ultimately becomes a resident of Pulaski or Wythe county will be determined by the outcome of this assessment, he noted.
According to Clark Greene, his lake property in the Newbern area increased in value by $180,000. He built his 1,100-square-foot home himself 28 years ago at a cost of $45,000 and this assessment now values it at more than $300,000.
Greene said he wants the appraisers to tell him how they reached that value.
“The average working person can’t take that kind of increase,” Greene added. He said he is “mad” and he expects the supervisors to get him “unmad.”
One woman said she has been trying, to no avail, to get someone to tell her how they determined the value of her one-third-acre tract, which doubled in value. She noted all she and her husband did after buying the property is clean up trash. She called for “accountability” by the assessors for how they reached their conclusions, “since we (taxpayers) employed them.”
J.R. Shrewsbury, who said he is 77 years old, indicated the nation isn’t in a recession, “we’re in a depression. …I feel like I’m being robbed and I’m not going to stand for it,” he added.
Colleen Oakly suggested the assessors apparently think local residents are “too stupid to know what’s going on around us.”
Asked whether the appraisers have been paid, County Administrator Pete Huber said they have. However, Tuesday morning Huber called The Southwest Times to say only a portion of the bill has been paid.
E.W. Harless of Dublin said the only way for the county to “fix this” is to waste money by throwing out the reassessment. He suggested the county wait another year to conduct a new assessment to see what the economy does.
Huber said state code calls for a reassessment every four years, but they can be done every six years instead. He said the county is at five years now.
Harless said he feels that’s what the supervisors are going to have to do “to pretty much stop a public hanging.”