Appeal results mailed today

The informal appeals process in the county's property revaluation ends today as results are mailed to residents who appealed their property value.

The Catawba County Tax Office reviewed informal appeals from property owners who disputed the market value appraisers established during the valuation process.

The county received 5,455 appeals as of March 7. Those appeals represent about 6.33 percent of the county's more than 80,000 parcels, according to Catawba County tax administrator Mark Logan.

The percentage of county parcels disputing the property valuation increased about two points this year from the previous revaluation in 2007, when 4.36 percent of county parcels appealed the valuation. In 2003, appeals represented about 6.55 percent of county parcels.

The number of appeals vary per revaluation cycle, Logan said, and are often related to the state of the economy.

Letters mailed Friday will have an explanation of the tax office's decision about the property appeal. Logan said people who appeal their property value often present documentation to correct or change information on file by appraisers about the home, such as the number of bathrooms or additions to the property.

Appraisers collect the information presented in the appeal and make a decision about the property's value. They could choose to keep the valuation the same or they could lower the price.

If property owners remain dissatisfied with their property value, the first state-mandated appeals process starts April 18 with hearings before the local Board of Equalization and Review. Hearings with the board are scheduled until every remaining appeal is heard, Logan said.

The local Board of Equalization and Review will mail its decisions to property owners. Property owners dissatisfied with the local Board of Equalization and Review's decision have 30 days after they receive the board's decision to appeal to the North Carolina Property Tax Commission.

After the tax commission, the next step in the appeals process is the North Carolina Court of Appeals.

County officials appraise property based on the Schedule of Values, which is an appraisal manual to ensure all property is valued in a uniform and consistent manner. Revaluation notices were mailed to property owners in November.

Property valuation notices do not set the tax rate. County commissioners will set the tax rate as part of the budgeting process this spring. The current rate is 53.5 cents per $100 of valuation.

Tax bills are mailed each year in July or August. The bill will reflect the new property value, and payment is due Sept. 1.