by Mike Parks
The county moved forward Tuesday night, June 5, in seeking a company to review the 2011 property tax revaluation.
The Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the “Revaluation Review Request for Proposal,” meaning companies will start submitting their bids for how much it will cost, and how long it will take, to review the controversial revaluation. The revaluation left many in Matthews and Mint Hill with higher property tax bills despite the recession and housing market crash, leading many to say the process was flawed in some way.
The review, as dictated by county commissioners, will look at how the county’s Tax Assessor’s office determined land values, the data integrity of the property database, adjustments made by appraisers, the validity of the market analysis and if the revaluation complied with the Machinery Act, which sets the guidelines for revaluations every county must do.
At multiple county commission meetings, residents have argued that the assessor’s office and appraisers either didn’t know what they were doing in valuing properties, or gave certain parts of the city unfair advantages in determining tax values. The assessor’s office argues that people saw their tax bills go up because it’s been so long since the last revaluation took place (in 2003) and property values have increased even though there was a recession and market woes.
Companies interested in leading the review can ask questions about the process at a June 13 meeting. Bids for the review must be in by June 25, and officials will recommend which company to hire at the commission’s July 3 meeting. Companies bidding for the job must clearly explain how long it will take to complete each step of the review, and at what cost, before commissioners will take their final vote. The review would then start after that vote.
In addition to the official review, the county, at Commissioner Bill James’ request, has created a Citizen Revaluation Advisory Committee to follow along with the process and ensure it answers the concerns of the many residents who have spoken out on the revaluation process. James represents south Mecklenburg County on the commission. A letter from James outlining exactly what he’d like to see out of the review process is posted online at the tax assessor’s office’s website, http://charmeck.org/mecklenburg/county/AssessorsOffice.
As part of the review bid, companies must explain how they will incorporate and work with the Citizen Revaluation Advisory Committee. Meeting time and location of the citizen committee will be posted once available.