Property tax bills are going out this week to Mecklenburg County residents, even though the assessor’s office is still working through a tidal wave of appeals filed to last year’s revaluation.
That old Ben Franklin saying about death and taxes being the only certain things in life is apt this week as 2012 property tax bills arrive in Mecklenburg County mailboxes. Also certain? Complaints.
“We’re prepared for that,” says Mecklenburg County Tax Assessor Garrett Alexander.
The assessor’s office was inundated with complaints and appeals last year from people who believed their properties had been overvalued. It was the first countywide revaluation in eight years.
There was so much public outcry that a formal review by an outside agency is underway. But Alexander’s office is required by law to keep collecting taxes on those 2011 values – even if many people remain convinced they’re wrong.
Maybe you got that valuation notice last year and thought “no way is my place worth this” but you didn’t appeal it?
“If you haven’t appealed your value, then you don’t really have the opportunity to appeal at this point,” says Alexander.
Alexander says people can only appeal their property value when it has changed in the current year – say because you added on to your house or tore down a garage. Otherwise, the horse is out of the barn, so to speak, on those controversial 2011 valuations.
That outside review of the process won’t be done until November. (Read more about the review in our Aug. 1, 2012, report on CorneliusNews.net, “Property owners give consultants an earful on revaluation.”
Here’s one bit of consolation for Mecklenburg County residents: The property tax bills many get this week should be slightly smaller since county commissioners cut taxes by 2.44 cents per $100 of assessed value.
LOCAL BILLS, TOO
Mecklenburg County sends out tax bills both for itself and on behalf of the county’s towns. That means the bills going out this week also will include local property tax assessments and other charges for 2012-13.
In Davidson, the property tax rate remained unchanged this year. But some town residents could see an extra charge because of a county error on last year’s bill. Davidson officials say the county failed to collect the town’s solid-waste fee from about 350 property owners last year, so the fee will be added this year. The town spokeswoman said this week the town is awaiting details from the county, but plans to mail an explanatory letter about the situation. The error affects primarily condo and town home owners, she said.
Since 2010, Davidson has collected the fee to pay for trash pickups and recycling. It $201 annually for owners of single-family homes and $63 to $125 for those in condos and apartments. (See a chart of the Davidson fees in our June 26, 2012, article about approval of the 2013 budget.)
In Cornelius, commissioners trimmed the tax rate by 1 penny per $100 of assessed value for this coming year. So property owners in town will get the same bills as last year. Some property owners in town, particularly around Lake Norman, are among the thousands who appealed their 2011 revaluations, and some of those appeals remain under way. Owners are still required to pay their bills at the new rate until their appeals are resolved.
David Boraks contributed to this article.
Update, 4:41 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012
Davidson officials issued a formal announcement about the solid-waste fee billing problems on Tuesday afternoon. Here’s the text of the announcement:
2011 Solid Waste Fees Unbilled for Some Residents: Letters of Explanation Go Out Today
DAVIDSON, N.C. – Today the Town of Davidson informs a segment of citizens via letter that their solid waste fee for 2011 was inadvertently omitted from their property tax bill, and that they will be billed by the Mecklenburg County Assessor’s Office in a separate bill in the coming week.
Republic Waste Services, a private contractor, provides for the disposal of household solid waste, recycling, yard/landscape debris, and leaf collection for town residents. In July 2010, the Davidson Board of Commissioners approved a Residential Solid Waste Fee on all residences located in the town. This fee is billed by the Mecklenburg County Assessor’s Office, on behalf of the town, with the annual property tax levy.
In 2011, the solid waste fee was omitted from approximately 350 bills, mostly for townhomes and condos. The town discovered this oversight in the spring of 2012, too late to generate a separate billing at that time. The Residential Solid Waste Ordinance allows the town to levy the fee in the succeeding fiscal year (we are now in the 2012-2013 fiscal year), if the fee was omitted in the current year. The 2011 solid waste fee will be levied by the Assessor’s Office in a separate bill, in addition to the 2012 solid waste fee on the annual property tax levy bill going out this fall. Affected citizens will receive a letter from the town this week, explaining the situation and apologizing for the error. Procedures are now in place to prevent this from happening again.
For more information, please contact Davidson Town Hall at 704-892-7591 or visit our website at www.townofdavidson.org.
LETTER GOING OUT THIS WEEK
Here’s a copy of the letter going out this week to owners of attached single-family homes:
August 23, 2012
As you may know, a private contractor provides for the disposal of household solid waste, yard/landscape debris, recycling, and leaf collection for Town of Davidson residents.
In July 2010 the Town of Davidson Board of Commissioners approved a Residential Solid Waste Fee on all residences located in the Town. The single family fee of $201 is billed by the Mecklenburg County Assessor’s Office, on behalf of the Town, with the annual tax levy.
In 2011, the solid waste fee was omitted from your property tax bill. We discovered the error in the spring of 2012, too late to generate a separate billing at that time. The Residential Solid Waste Ordinance allows us to levy the fee in the succeeding fiscal year, if the fee was omitted in the current year. The 2011 solid waste fee of $201 will be levied by the Assessor’s Office on a separate bill in addition to the 2012 solid waste fee on the annual tax levy bill. You will receive two bills in late summer of 2012 that will be due by early January 2013.
The Town of Davidson regrets the error in 2011 resulting in two solid waste fees billed in 2012. We have been working with the Mecklenburg County Assessor’s Office to complete a comprehensive review of the assessed fees. We have also been working to ensure that procedures are in place to prevent this unfortunate occurrence from reoccurring.
If you have any questions, please contact Davidson Town Hall at 704-892-7591.
Cynthia B. Jones, CPA