State leaders make first push for revaluation refunds

by Jackson Sveen and Courtney Price

CHARLOTTE – A bi-partisan group of state legislators filed bills March 4 to correct the property values in areas that were deemed inaccurate from the 2011 property revaluation.

Mecklenburg County commissioners asked legislators last month to authorize retroactive property appraisals back to Jan. 1, 2011.

“The need to fix the 2011 property revaluation is an issue that transcends politics or political parties,” N.C. Sen. Jeff Tarte said. “When this was brought to my attention in early 2011 by Bob Deaton, I knew that we would have to correct this injustice to the citizens of Mecklenburg County. We have a plan that will return money improperly taken by the county and municipalities. This bill will accomplish that by ensuring fair and accurate property values for all Mecklenburg County property owners.”

The bill will require the clean-up of the property tax database, the eventual issuance of refunds and a complete redo of the 2011 property revaluation.

The board unanimously supported the concept at its Feb. 19 meeting. Pearson’s Appraisal Service, an independent company brought in to make recommendations on the problems with revaluation, found a series of major and minor issues with assessed valuations in neighborhoods throughout Mecklenburg County.

In its initial review of the 2011 Mecklenburg County Revaluation, Pearson found that of the 151 random neighborhoods reviewed, 15 were determined to have major issues of equity and 34 have minor issues. Only 15 percent of the county was audited during Pearson’s initial review. After that finding, the board voted to let Pearson’s review the entire county.

Tarte met with county and state leaders in late February to work out a fair and accurate way to handle property values, he said.

“The bill will allow Mecklenburg County to correct the 2011 property revaluation, and the tax bills issued since that time within the law and the constitution,” said Rep. Bill Brawley. “The work done by legislative staff with consultation with the North Carolina Department of Revenue and UNC School of Government have crafted a bill to protect the rights of everyone involved.”

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