Property reassessments: No great change

For Rappahannock County’s every-six-years general real estate reassessment, with the appraisals done and notices delivered, it appears the overall value of property in the county will remain flat — unlike in 2010, when a marked jump in assessments went into effect.

County Administrator John McCarthy and Commissioner of the Revenue Beverly Atkins each declined this week to make specific projections, both citing the fact that hearings before the county’s board of assessors (who consider property owners’ challenges to appraisals) are still going on. McCarthy said it appeared the reassessment would not significantly change real estate values overall. Atkins said the overall value could be running slightly lower than it was, but said that by the time the board of assessors finishes its work, that might not be true.

If property value remains the same, or nearly, any tax increases or decreases next year will be driven by budget-related needs or belt-tightening, since “equalization” adjustments to the tax rate would be unnecessary. The reassessment goes into effect Jan. 1.

One real estate agent familiar with the process said, although many homeowners’ assessments were flat or even down slightly, it appeared that the county’s higher-end properties might be undergoing a market-based “correction” in this reassessment — meaning, an uptick in the previous assessed values of the county’s most valuable private homes and land, based in part on the recent sales of “comps,” or comparable properties.

Property owners who wish to challenge their new assessments are scheduled through the end of this week to present their cases to the board of assessors — whose members are Amy Timbers of Piedmont district, Ron Makela of Jackson district and Yogi Bear of Hampton district. To seek relief from the board, which meets at the courthouse, property owners should contact the commissioner of the revenue office (540-675-5370) before the end of this week.

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