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York County will mail property reassessment notices this week

mcherry@heraldonline.com

For the first time in half a decade, homeowners in York County will learn what the goverment says their properties are worth and get an idea of what they now may owe in property taxes.

The York County assessor’s office will begin mailing reassessment notices Monday. It’s the start of the period when property owners can decide whether to appeal the assessed value of their land.

Nearly 115,000 York County property owners will receive an assessment notice.

“We’re required to do this every five years by state law,” said York County Assessor Teresa Simmons. “We’ve been working on this since about mid-2012.”

Officials stress the assessment is not a tax notice. However, authorities will use the assessed value of a piece of property to determine the tax bill.

County officials say the value of most properties has declined during the last five years because of the recession.

“In 2011, the majority of the assessment over the past five years was based on the big economic boom,” County Council Chairman Britt Blackwell said. “Now it’s based on the majority of years coming out of a recession, so assessments will be down a lot.”

But any decrease in tax bills from lower property values could be offset by an increase in the county tax rate. The County Council is considering a budget that raises property tax rates by 2 percent.

Much of the extra revenue raised by the higher property tax rate would go toward hiring 21 additional employees. Staff salaries and benefits make up about 70 percent of the county’s year-to-year budget.

Councilman William “Bump” Roddey said the county budget will likely factor in marginal tax increases through 2018.

“The taxpayer will see a small increase over the next couple of years just to keep pace with rising costs and benefits,” he said, arguing smaller increases over time prevent a large tax bill coming due all at once.

“It’s good to look past not just this year ... but know where we’re going over the next four to five years,” Roddey said.

County tax notices are usually mailed in October, but by then it will be too late to challenge a property reassessment. Property owners must file an appeal within 90 days to have a shot at getting their assessments changed.

“They can appeal in writing, listing all the reasons they disagree with the assessment and anything that might show why it’s wrong,” Simmons said. “Then it will go to the Board of Assessment Appeals.”

The notice will show the market value of a property, its taxable value, the assessment ratio, and the assessment itself. The value of industrial property is assessed separately by the S.C. Department of Revenue. Those notices will be mailed at a later date.

Bristow Marchant •  803-329-4062

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