Assessment values being set for tax reappraisal in 2023

·2 min read

Jun. 22—Work is underway on the scheduled tax reappraisal of county properties that will be effective in 2023.

Tax Director Michael Brown updated the Lee County commissioners on the process at the board's Monday night meeting.

The reappraisal process updates the assessed value of real property — land, buildings, structures — and is done in Lee County every four years, Brown said.

"The goal of a reappraisal is to appraise all real real property at its 'true value' as of the year of the general reappraisal," Brown said in his presentation. "The end result is to assess each property at its fair share of the tax burden."

It will take about 2 1/2 years to complete the appraisal process which began in January 2021 and scheduled to end June 2023, Brown said.

There are 32,117 parcels to be assessed and that number continues to grow as more homes and businesses are drawn to Lee County. In fact, Brown said, the county has been divided into 226 neighborhoods and they will continually review the data.

Tax Department workers are handling the residential reassessments, reviewing data of similar properties by neighborhood to determine the assessed value, Brown said. An outside vendor will handle the commercial properties.

Given the real estate boom during the COVID-19 pandemic, values are likely to be higher. Brown showed slides of some county homes that have been purchased this year, comparing the 2019 assessed value of the property with the sale price.

For example, a home in the Carolina Trace subdivision had an assessed value in 2019 of $235,800. The home sold in March for $424,500, an 80% increase.

Another home in the Lynnbrook-Russell neighborhood was assessed at $519,300 but sold in March for $725,000, an increase of 39%.

A home in Broadway was assessed in 2019 at $204,500. In March, the house sold for $342,000, a 67% increase.

Another house in West Lee that was appraised at $154,000 sold in February for $320,000, an 107% increase.

Notices of value are scheduled to be mailed in late January or early February with tax bills going out in July, Brown said.

Property owners can informally appeal the appraisal in the Tax Assessor's office, but all formal appeals must go before the Board of Equalization and Review.

The commissioners also added conditions to the county's contract with FirstHealth of the Carolinas, which is now handling emergency calls in Lee County.

The changes include requiring the purchase of a life-saving ambulance for critical situations and will be in service 24 hours daily, County Manager John Crumpton said.

The other is tracking ambulance response times for the most urgent calls including cardiac and other conditions. Non-emergency calls also are to be tracked with data provided through the 911 dispatch calls.