by Mike Parks
County Manager Harry Jones is working on ways homeowners can take part in the review of the 2011 property tax revaluation at the request of south Mecklenburg’s commissioner.
Commissioner Bill James asked Jones to bring in some of the citizens who have been the most vocal in fighting their property tax revaluation and researching the process. At least 16 people signed up to speak at a recent county meeting on revaluation, with many begging commissioners to “fix” a revaluation they saw to be seriously flawed.
“I think that it will help improve the audit of revaluation if we have citizens that were hip-deep in the subject matter involved in working with the auditor,” James said in an email Monday, May 7.
In an email to county leaders, Jones said he’ll put the options on an upcoming county commission agenda for commissioners to vote on. Jones did not respond to Matthews-Mint Hill Weekly’s request to describe what those options might be prior to press deadline.
“Although my recommendation was to rely on the appeals process as the built-in audit of the revaluation, my responsibility is to implement the decision of the board to conduct this review,” Jones wrote in an email to the board. “Given that the board is interested in assuring public confidence in the reappraisal process and having a credible review process, additional citizen involvement in the review process makes sense.”
Commissioners voted May 1 to review the revaluation that has caused outrage from residents across the county. Most of the charge to review the process has come from north Mecklenburg homeowners around Lake Norman, and the area’s county commissioner, Karen Bentley. Bentley tried to pass a proposal at the meeting calling for an outside audit of the revaluation and for the county to schedule a new revaluation for 2014, something James supported. The majority of commissioners balked at going that far in their vote, with SouthPark’s representative on the commission, Neil Cooksey, helping lead a vote to review the revaluation and look into the costs and efforts in doing a revaluation down the road, but not scheduling a 2014 revaluation.
The commission should discuss the finer points of getting an outside review of the revaluation process during their June 19 meeting.