Monday, January 26, 2009

Augusta reassessments arrive

Augusta County reassessments that were mailed last week have arrived ... and many are not happy. Some taxpayers, hearing about the 28% increase, were shocked to open their bills to find 50% increases.

The Waynesboro News Virginian talked with Pastures District resident Melissa Avey who lives in the rural, mountaineous area west of Staunton.
Melissa Avey, of Deerfield, had followed the reports of a 27.7 percent average increase on residential properties in the county, but got the surprise of her life when she opened her mail.

She and husband Michael’s 100-year-old home on 50 acres went from $177,000 to $280,000, a 58.6 percent increase over the last reassessment four years ago.

That would take the couple’s annual tax bill from $1,026 to $1,624, based on the current rate of 58 cents per $100 of assessed value.

“I was prepared for an increase, but this was a shock,” she said. “We’re not talking about an area where it’s really building up. We’re talking about western Augusta County with no real development and farmland.”

Avey said she might have expected such an increase had her home been in a more developed area such as Stuarts Draft or Fishersville.
Pastures Supervisor Tracy Pyles, the only BOS member to publicly advocate lowering the tax rate, expects the discussion to continue at this week's Wednesday meeting.
“Instead of putting people through the ringer with reassessment challenges, the board should just adjust the tax rate to make it revenue neutral,” said Pastures Supervisor Tracy Pyles.

If the tax rate remains the same, the owner of a $150,000 house with an average increase would have a value of $191,000 and tax increase of $240 to $1,108.

Pyles said he also continues to believe that assessment values are a constantly moving target and the values reflected in the assessments “are not accurate to judge for the next four years.”
The appeals process begins today at the Augusta County Government Center in Verona. There were many appeals four years ago. This year is shaping up to see even more.

If you are concerned about your assessment or interested in seeing the tax rate equalized, attend the Board of Supervisors meeting this Wednesday, January 28, at 7:00 pm. Questions may be directed to the Government Center (540 245-5600).

- Augusta County real estate reassessments
- Augusta reassessments on hold until Dec. 31
- Augusta County reassessments to go up 33%?
- Augusta County: Pastures Supervisor Pyles wants to delay home reassessments

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