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Meeting on reassessment held at NRCC

Several dozen Pulaski County residents, including many from the area around Claytor Lake, on Saturday morning attended the first of five community meetings focusing on the new real estate reassessments.
The meeting, held in Richardson Hall on the campus of New River Community College, will be followed by four more in which residents will hear a presentation on this year’s reassessment and have an opportunity to ask questions about the process.
The other four community meetings are set for: Monday, Jan. 19 at the old Draper Elementary; Tuesday, Jan. 20 at the Robinson Tract Community Center; Wednesday, Jan. 21 in the New River Room of the Competitiveness Center in Fairlawn, and Thursday, Jan. 22 at Snowville Elementary. All the meetings begin at 7 p.m. and are open to any county resident.
County Administrator Pete Huber opened Saturday’s meeting by explaining how Virginia’s constitution and state code govern the taxing process, and how the state Department of Taxation has guidelines on appraisals and mass assessments.
Responding to a citizen’s question of how the higher reassessments could be justified in today’s economy, Huber noted that the neither the Pulaski County Board of Supervisors or the Commissioner of Revenue office have any influence or say over what a property is assessed at.
Huber explained the most recent sales tax data (which is two months old) shows tax revenue rising in the county which he said means residents are likely buying the basics here, but are going elsewhere such as Wytheville or Christiansburg to buy any extras such as a car.
He noted that the total assessed value of real property in the county from the reassessment exceeds last year’s total assessed value by 34.2 percent. “Some have increased more, some are less,” Huber noted.
Residents who disagree with their reassessment, Huber explained, can attend one of several upcoming Board of Equalization appeal hearings. That board, which is nominated by the board of supervisors and appointed by the court, will have the authority to change an assessment if the property owner can present a good enough case to warrant a change during the appeal.
That three-member board — consisting of Don Dalton, Al Smith and Andy McCready — will meet Monday to set hearing dates. The board will have about six weeks to consider appeals.
Residents who wish to appeal their assessment should email their request to boe@pulaskicounty.org or call 994-2416. Huber urged residents to take any documentation with them to help argue their case for a change in assessment.
“The county is not interested in your reassessments not being correct because we haven’t set a tax rate yet,” Huber explained. “We want them to be as accurate as possible.”
The county’s board of supervisors voted this week 4-1 to advertise the real estate tax rate at 50 cents per $100 of assessed value. Once the rate is advertised, the board can lower the rate, but cannot exceed the advertised rate.
Huber told the board of supervisors Monday that the equalized rate under the new real estate reassessments will be somewhere in the area of 46 to 48 cents per $100 of value, but a final rate won’t be known until the Board of Equalization sets the final values on appealed assessments.
Huber noted that some residents had suggested doing the reassessment over, but that isn’t practical. “That’s what the board of equalization is for,” he explained. “Even if we did that, we’d be throwing away hundreds of thousands of dollars for the work already done,” Huber stated, noting that the county has already paid some $130,000 to Wingate Appraisal Service for their reassessment work, and that’s only a partial payment. He said the county’s reassessement costs about $20 per parcel with some 24,000 parcels being assessed.
One citizen asked why, with the state cutting spending, the county expects an 11 percent increase in its budget. The sentiment was that if the state is cutting, why can’t the county. Huber explained that the state cuts include reductions in the money the state gives the county for things such as schools, the sheriff’s office and other needs. He said the county expects at least $3 million in state funding reductions as it stands now. How much local revenue is raised to make up for the losses in state funding is up to citizens, Huber noted.
Harold Wingate of Wingate Appraisal said his firm spent six weeks doing sales and construction cost studies in preparation of their reassessment work in Pulaski County “before we put the first value on any piece of property.”
Responding to citizen questions, Wingate noted that equalizing the tax burden is the reason for a reassessment, not to raise revenue. “The board of supervisors can do that at any time,” he noted.
He said 75 percent of the complaints being heard about the reassessment are about the percentage of increase — not the market value, Wingate noted.

Huber closed the over two-hour meeting saying the county government understands citizens’ concerns — especially those of citizens on fixed incomes. “We’re concerned about the citizens, the economy and services. The county is like a house … it will be worth less if you don’t take care of it. The county is the same. What will happen to schools, buildings, etc. if we don’t take care of them? How much do we want to invest in our county? If we don’t fix things, the values fall for all of us. Investment is needed in order to maintain and improve,” Huber stated.

Meeting on reassessment held at NRCC

Several dozen Pulaski County residents, including many from the area around Claytor Lake, on Saturday morning attended the first of five community meetings focusing on the new real estate reassessments.
The meeting, held in Richardson Hall on the campus of New River Community College, will be followed by four more in which residents will hear a presentation on this year’s reassessment and have an opportunity to ask questions about the process.
The other four community meetings are set for: Monday, Jan. 19 at the old Draper Elementary; Tuesday, Jan. 20 at the Robinson Tract Community Center; Wednesday, Jan. 21 in the New River Room of the Competitiveness Center in Fairlawn, and Thursday, Jan. 22 at Snowville Elementary. All the meetings begin at 7 p.m. and are open to any county resident.
County Administrator Pete Huber opened Saturday’s meeting by explaining how Virginia’s constitution and state code govern the taxing process, and how the state Department of Taxation has guidelines on appraisals and mass assessments.
Responding to a citizen’s question of how the higher reassessments could be justified in today’s economy, Huber noted that the neither the Pulaski County Board of Supervisors or the Commissioner of Revenue office have any influence or say over what a property is assessed at.
Huber explained the most recent sales tax data (which is two months old) shows tax revenue rising in the county which he said means residents are likely buying the basics here, but are going elsewhere such as Wytheville or Christiansburg to buy any extras such as a car.
He noted that the total assessed value of real property in the county from the reassessment exceeds last year’s total assessed value by 34.2 percent. “Some have increased more, some are less,” Huber noted.
Residents who disagree with their reassessment, Huber explained, can attend one of several upcoming Board of Equalization appeal hearings. That board, which is nominated by the board of supervisors and appointed by the court, will have the authority to change an assessment if the property owner can present a good enough case to warrant a change during the appeal.
That three-member board — consisting of Don Dalton, Al Smith and Andy McCready — will meet Monday to set hearing dates. The board will have about six weeks to consider appeals.
Residents who wish to appeal their assessment should email their request to boe@pulaskicounty.org or call 994-2416. Huber urged residents to take any documentation with them to help argue their case for a change in assessment.
“The county is not interested in your reassessments not being correct because we haven’t set a tax rate yet,” Huber explained. “We want them to be as accurate as possible.”
The county’s board of supervisors voted this week 4-1 to advertise the real estate tax rate at 50 cents per $100 of assessed value. Once the rate is advertised, the board can lower the rate, but cannot exceed the advertised rate.
Huber told the board of supervisors Monday that the equalized rate under the new real estate reassessments will be somewhere in the area of 46 to 48 cents per $100 of value, but a final rate won’t be known until the Board of Equalization sets the final values on appealed assessments.
Huber noted that some residents had suggested doing the reassessment over, but that isn’t practical. “That’s what the board of equalization is for,” he explained. “Even if we did that, we’d be throwing away hundreds of thousands of dollars for the work already done,” Huber stated, noting that the county has already paid some $130,000 to Wingate Appraisal Service for their reassessment work, and that’s only a partial payment. He said the county’s reassessement costs about $20 per parcel with some 24,000 parcels being assessed.
One citizen asked why, with the state cutting spending, the county expects an 11 percent increase in its budget. The sentiment was that if the state is cutting, why can’t the county. Huber explained that the state cuts include reductions in the money the state gives the county for things such as schools, the sheriff’s office and other needs. He said the county expects at least $3 million in state funding reductions as it stands now. How much local revenue is raised to make up for the losses in state funding is up to citizens, Huber noted.
Harold Wingate of Wingate Appraisal said his firm spent six weeks doing sales and construction cost studies in preparation of their reassessment work in Pulaski County “before we put the first value on any piece of property.”
Responding to citizen questions, Wingate noted that equalizing the tax burden is the reason for a reassessment, not to raise revenue. “The board of supervisors can do that at any time,” he noted.
He said 75 percent of the complaints being heard about the reassessment are about the percentage of increase — not the market value, Wingate noted.

Huber closed the over two-hour meeting saying the county government understands citizens’ concerns — especially those of citizens on fixed incomes. “We’re concerned about the citizens, the economy and services. The county is like a house … it will be worth less if you don’t take care of it. The county is the same. What will happen to schools, buildings, etc. if we don’t take care of them? How much do we want to invest in our county? If we don’t fix things, the values fall for all of us. Investment is needed in order to maintain and improve,” Huber stated.