Gates County ‘buzz’ word – revaluation

Published 9:27 am Tuesday, April 28, 2009

As of the current moment, the roar in Gates County has nothing to do with the possibility of Navy aircraft practicing touch-and-go landings.

The “buzz” is all about taxes…as in the new property assessments that recently reached households, via the mailman, throughout the county.

My phone here at the office has been busy, fielding calls from disgruntled Gates County residents. Some have even chewed my ear while I’m out working assignments in Gates County.

But I’m only catching a small portion of the complaints. I can’t imagine the number of phone calls placed to Gates County officials since the new assessments hit the mailboxes.

My only advice to those who have complained to me about property assessments doubling, or even tripling, is to use the system as in place to voice your concerns.

This is a revaluation year in Gates County. “Revals” are required by state law at least every eight years (some have that task performed every four years in order to keep abreast of fast-changing real estate markets).

This is nothing new for any property owner in the state (at least for the ones who have been here at least eight years). Their primary purpose is to provide equalization among all property owners, as well as among all classes of property. Revaluation is not intended to increase revenue, but only to insure that each property owner pays only his or her fair share of the cost of services rendered by local government.

Since property taxes are based on value, it is important to have all property valued periodically on a uniform basis, using a modern system of valuation. Property values change with time. Some values go up, some go down and others remain static.

Appraisals must be updated or inequities in tax distribution will result. For instance, property valued at $150,000 the last time Gates County experienced a “reval” year (2003) might now be worth $175,000 or it could have declined in value to $125,000. In either case, the 2003 appraised value of the property is obsolete and will result in the property owners either paying too much or too little of their share of the tax for the operation of local government.

And please be reminded that the company in charge of performing property appraisals (in Gates County’s case it’s Pearson & Associates) does not “set” value; they simply research the values that have already been established by buyers and sellers in the local real estate market. They then apply their knowledge of the local market and appraisal experience, using proven methods and procedures for analyzing comparable properties and considering the many

factors affecting value. Your property should appraise at the price of comparable properties in your area, plus or minus adjustments for differing factors.

The aforementioned also applies to the Gates County Tax Administrator (Renee McGinnis). She does not “set” the value. As an appointed official, tax administrators throughout the state of North Carolina have multi-faceted roles. Their responsibilities are the planning, directing and coordinating a comprehensive countywide tax program, work that includes the listing, billing and collection of taxes.

There are some in Gates County already screaming for McGinnis to be fired in the wake of the new tax bills. To those uninformed souls I would say sit down and shut-up because it’s apparent you do not understand what you’re talking about.

If anyone has a problem with the way their property values were assessed in Gates County, there are several avenues in which to voice your concerns in a professional manner instead of putting your mouth in motion before putting your brain in gear.

I would encourage those with concerns to call the Gates County Manager’s Office (357-1240) and ask how you can go about having your concerns addressed.

Cal Bryant is Editor of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald and Gates County Index. He can be reached at or 252-332-7207.