Flood damaged homes given tax break

Published 9:32 am Wednesday, June 1, 2011

WINDSOR – Homes flooded here have received irreversible damage.

That’s the estimation of Bertie County Tax Administrator Hosea Wilson, who told the Bertie County Commissioners last week the value of the twice-flooded homes– once by Hurricane Floyd and the other by the remnants of Tropical Storm Nicole – have lost 45 percent of their value.

“I am recommending a horizontal adjustment of residential and business properties to reduce the assessment by 45 percent for the upcoming tax year,” Wilson said.

Commissioner Rick Harrell asked if there was a formula used to determine the value and Wilson said he had consulted others and had used the sale of one home after the flooding in his calculation.

“Whether there was six inches of water or three feet, the same thing has to be done inside,” Wilson said.

Harrell asked where the 45 percent reduction came from.

Wilson said it was his estimation of the damage to the homes by the flooding. He said the properties would be revisited before the next tax year due to revaluation.

“I’ve done the best I can,” he said.

Commissioner J. Wallace Perry asked if that 45 percent reduction was for homes that had been restored and Wilson said it was.

Bertie County Attorney Lloyd Smith asked what if the property was not returned to the same as before the flood. Wilson said it was still worth about 55 percent of the normal value.

Commission Chairman L.C. Hoggard III asked if Wilson had done his research and used all his resources and felt confident in what he was recommending and Wilson said he had.

Bertie County Manager Zee Lamb stressed the valuation was a one-time only adjustment because revaluation would place a new value on the homes before the 2012 tax year.

Harrell then asked if there was an appeals process for those who may not feel the value was just and Wilson said there is a process in place.

Wilson estimated $5.8 million would be the impact on the tax base, but said the numbers in the upcoming budget year took into account that loss.

Perry made a motion to approve the 45 percent reduction with Harrell offering a second. It passed by a unanimous vote.

Wilson said notices would go out to those affected tax payers sometime this week.