MOUNT VERNON — A number of residents around the county have received notifications from the auditor’s office of value changes to their properties, which will affect their next property taxes. The changes are the sort of notices issued every year, according to Knox County Auditor Jonette Curry.
Curry said the county is required by state law to send updated figures to Columbus at the end of every year. The change notices are sent to residents who have seen property values shift up or down, so they won’t be surprised by the change when it shows up on their tax bills.
Curry said a number of reasons can cause changes. The splitting or combining of real estate parcels from selling or buying property will automatically result in changes. Construction of new buildings or demolition of old ones will also result in changes to the property’s value.
But even people who haven’t had any activities along those lines can see changes, as Roger Williams of Green Valley Road experienced. He had objected in the past to his land being listed as having 68 acres of tillable land. He said the tillable land, which he rents out, is only 43 acres. Williams said this year’s value change notice lowered the Current Agricultural Use Value of his tillable land by reclassifying part of the untilled land as woods.
Curry said value adjustments such as those made on Williams’ property were based on new aerial photography of the county, performed in 2009. The greater accuracy of the new photos, she said, is making it possibly to clarify and revise some areas which were incorrectly classified in the past.
Williams said this explained the reclassification, as the 19 acres was a section of land that used to be tilled many years ago, but had reverted to scrub brush, which eventually reverted to woods. The aerial survey would have clearly shown this.
Some residents, seeing increases, have expressed the opinion that the changes must be a way for the county to raise money to help ease its recent tight budgets.
“You might think that,” Curry said, “but if you think it through, the schools will get most of that money.”
School funding is drawn from property taxes.
Out of 42,000 land parcels in the county, 1,572 required value changes this year. Most of the inquiries the auditor’s office has received, Curry said, have been from residents who forgot that they split or combined real estate parcels for one reason or another during the year.
These changes have all been assembled from aerial photos, deed changes, building permits and observed construction. Full reappraisals are performed every six years, Curry said, with triannual updates being estimated based on a ratio of property sales in the area.
Williams said his biggest concern is the amount his property was increased in value after the most recent reappraisal. He said that after the property reappraisal in 2007, his overall value increased by $70,000. Even with the CAUV drop, the latest revisions raised Williams’ property value another $8,000.
“If it keeps going up at that rate, I’ll be a millionaire before they’re done,” Williams said.