Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Augusta: Landowners exasperated by assessments in Riverheads District

~ News continues to report record low housing starts and house prices ~

The Waynesboro News Virginian continues their week-long coverages of each of the seven districts in Augusta County with today's coverage of Riverheads District.

Reporter Bob Stuart talked with property owners in the southern part of the county in Augusta County properties now said to have added value: Landowners exasperated by assessments in Riverheads.

On a side note, the county attorney did some digging into the past and says supervisors cannot adjust reassessments, according to a 1970s AG opinion from Richmond. He also made some other questionable comments that may be challenged.

Churchville attorney Francis Chester will appear before the Augusta County Circuit Court Wednesday morning, Feb. 25, to defend his writ of mandamus against County Administrator Pat Coffield requesting petitions be allowed to be displayed in county public libraries. The public is encouraged to attend that hearing. The courthouse is located at the corner of Augusta and Johnson Streets in downtown Staunton.

Today we heard housing prices dropped a record 18% in the last quarter of 2008 -- October, November, and December, according to the Wall Street Journal -- adding fuel to the argument against the outrageously high real estate assessments in Augusta County. The WSJ says that now makes two years in a row housing prices have fallen:
As of December, average home prices are down 27% from their mid-2006 peak. The 10-city and 20-city indexes have fallen every month since August 2006, 29 straight.
News earlier in the month reported housing starts were at their lowest since 1959.

Use the News Virginian's "Database Center" to check online assessments.

Coming Wednesday: Middle River.

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