Proposed valuation sparks concern

The possibility of new tax values has some citizens concerned about higher taxes and big government.
The Catawba County Board of Commissioners held a public hearing at its Monday meeting for citizens to express their thoughts on the proposed Schedule of Values, Standards and Rules, which helps determine the county's property values for its 2011 property revaluation.
Lisa Bumgarner, of Conover, spoke at the public hearing and expressed her concern with what she said is a trend toward increasing governmental involvement.
She worries high-tax rates on local and small farmers will force them off their lands and result in increased government involvement in food production.
"If there's a food shortage, big government is going to step (up in the event of a disaster)," she said. "At least if we had local growers we wouldn't be starving to death."
Commissioners reminded everyone present at the public hearing that the board doesn't set a tax rate, and property tax values are determined by buyers and sellers of property in Catawba County.
The Schedule of Values is a manual compiled by employees in the county tax office, which outlines guidelines by which property values are generated.
"The schedule is a culmination of a lot of research on behalf of my staff," said Mark Logan, Catawba County tax administrator.
The Schedule of Values is available to the public in the county tax accessor's office, located on the first floor of the Government Center on Southwest Boulevard in Newton.
Logan said he only knows of one person who looked through the document, which has been available for the public's perusal for two weeks.