published Monday, May 25th, 2009

Round 2 for reappraisal appeals to begin


by Matt Wilson
Audio clip

Property Assessor Bill Bennett

Hamilton County homeowners unhappy with their 2009 reappraisals, and dissatisfied with their appeals, have another chance next month to debate the value of their homes.

Earlier this month, officials in the county assessor’s office sent out responses to homeowners who filed appeals to their reappraisals, Property Assessor Bill Bennett said.

“There will be some people who still disagree with that,” he said.

RECORDS AVAILABLE

A legal notice from Property Assessor Bill Bennett’s office last week announced that Hamilton County assessment records will be available for public inspection at the assessor of property office, 6135 Heritage Drive. The notice stated that property owners wishing to appeal to the Board of Equalization should pick up forms at the same address.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR REAPPRAISAL

The Times Free Press is looking for homeowners in every part of the county who would like to talk about their property reappraisal. If you’d like to be featured in an upcoming project about the reappraisals, please call 757-6481 or send an e-mail to mwilson@timesfreepress.com.

Those who do will have the chance starting June 1 to take their cases before the county Board of Equalization. The board will meet until the end of June.

Betty Lancaster-Stafford, who lives in the Falling Water area, said her total property value, which went from about $213,000 to nearly $300,000 in the reappraisal, came down about $15,000 in her appeal.

“It wasn’t what I thought, but I did get at least a little on that,” she said. “I’m not going to appeal it (to the Equalization Board) because I don’t want to rock the boat.”

Mr. Bennett said this year’s round of appeals to the board could take a little longer than in years past because of the volume of appeals. About 20,000 appeals were filed with the assessor’s office as of April, he said.

The assessor said his office should be able to get the Hamilton County Commission the information it needs to set a new certified tax rate by late July or early August. The commission is required by law to lower the property tax rate proportionally to the average property value increase.

Mr. Bennett said the average property increase likely will be between 14 percent and 16 percent.

As commissioners wait to set the new tax rate, the county will likely operate on a continuation budget, officials said. Essentially, it will continue to operate under the 2008-2009 budget until a new rate is put in place and the 2009-2010 budget can start.

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