Updated: See bottom of this post for link to DJ McGuire at Right-Wing Liberal's commentary.Augusta County's real estate assessments for 2009 were questioned by Democrat Supervisor Tracy Pyles in October 2008 because of a proposed 33% increase at a time when real estate transactions were plummeting, home prices were dropping, and the economy was reeling.
The Board decided to put reassessments on hold until the end of the year to allow an unstable financial landscape the opportunity to revive.
Today's Waynesboro News Virginian reports that the Board of Assessors will meet Thursday to review the situation:
The Augusta County Board of Assessors expect to get an overview of the county’s delayed real property reassessment when the board meets Thursday morning.Notices are expected to be mailed the third week in January with the first round of appeals from residents to begin January 26.
The reassessment was delayed 90 days in October after county supervisors heard the concerns of residents who doubted property values could have increased an average of 33 percent in light of the current depressed economy.
The 33-percent number was the average increase reported in October by Blue Ridge Mass Appraisal Co., the Staunton company performing the reassessment.
Supervisors agreed to wait until January for the reassessment to get a more realistic evaluation of the county’s real estate values.
Walter Brown, the co-chairman of the Augusta County Board of Assessors, said he was awaiting the final reassessment average from Blue Ridge Mass Appraisal.
“I don’t know the final average, but I expect some increase,’’ said Brown, who represents the Riverheads District on the board of assessors.
Pastures District Supervisor Tracy Pyles said he is convinced the economy and real estate slump will continue.
“This thing is not getting any better,’’ said Pyles. “We were slower to feel it.”
Pyles said one act supervisors need to take during the upcoming budget deliberations is a lowering of the county’s 58 cents per $100 tax rate.
“I hope the board decides to make it neutral,’’ Pyles said of the increase in real estate values being offset by a lowering of the tax rate.
The Augusta County Board of Supervisors meets monthly on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays at the Augusta Government Center on Lee Highway in Verona.
UPDATE: DJ McGuire at Right-Wing Liberal, who has followed this issue because of a similar issue in his part of the state, has a post with blunt commentary. His concluding comments:
The last time assessments were made (2005, and they rose), the Republicans had four of seven seats on the Board - but they didn’t equalize the tax rate. This time, however, the rest of the state is watching.Supervisors may be reached for comments about the upcoming assessments:
This isn’t just about Augusta - which was one of the few counties the GOP swept last November (yes, even Jim Gilmore carried it). If what is arguably the most Republican county in the Commonwealth ends up with a tax increase, it will be much easier for other counties in Virginia to hit up their taxpayers for more money. Moreover, the State Senator the represents Augusta (Emmett Hanger) has been using local government “needs” as his excuse to support tax increases in 2004, 2006, and 2007.
The Republican Party began its political recovery in Virginia during last summer’s special session, and it started to bear fruit last night. Will the Augusta Republicans on the Board of Supervisors keep up the momentum? Or will they turn the party back toward the wilderness of higher taxes, angry activists, and libertarians defecting to the Democrats?
- Jeremy Shifflett, Beverley Manor
Cell Phone: 540.294.2289
E-mail: Jeremy Shifflett
- Gerald Garber, Middle River
Home: (540) 234-8388
- Larry Howdyshell, North River
Home: (540) 350-2591
- Tracy Pyles, Pastures
Home: (540) 337-7010
- Nancy Sorrells, Riverheads
Home: (540) 377-6390
- David Beyeler, South River
Home: (540) 943-3202
- Wendell Coleman, Wayne
Home: (540) 430-1350