House calls

Tax man: Buncombe County Tax Director Gary Roberts explains that residents will receive notices of the their properties' reappraised values in January. photo by Bill Rhodes

In the wake of marathon meetings concerning contentious personnel issues and an ambitious greenways plan, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners held a much shorter and calmer Sept. 18 session.

The commissioners unanimously approved re-assessing property values a year before state law requires the county to do so. The vote was a technicality, since the board had approved the plan Aug. 7 on a 4-1 vote with Commissioner Holly Jones opposed. Jones had feared the move would increase the tax burden for poor and working-class residents. But on Sept. 18, she supported the plan, saying her concerns about equity could be addressed when the board sets the property-tax rate for the 2013-14 fiscal year, which begins next July 1. Those taxes will be due Sept. 1, 2013.

The county will notify residents of their property’s current value in January, Tax Director Gary Roberts explained, and the commissioners can take that information into account when determining the tax rate. Roberts had requested the move because of major changes in the real estate market since the last valuation in 2006. State law requires a revaluation at least once every eight years.

Due to the market fluctuations, noted board Chair David Gantt, “We just don't know what the results of the revaluation will be.”

Vice Chair Bill Stanley was absent due to travel. Two county employees also missed the meeting due to illness: County Manager Wanda Greene and a staffer who’d planned to update the commissioners on the “Know Your Numbers Incentive.” The program offers county employees paid time off in exchange for improving basic health indicators such as blood pressure and cholesterol level; the presentation will be rescheduled, said Gantt.

About Jake Frankel
Jake Frankel is an award-winning journalist who enjoys covering a wide range of topics, from politics and government to business, education and entertainment.

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