Tax Assessor Keith Miller says he is “very confident” that the changes he’s implemented will improve the process used in the next reappraisal in 2025. However, consultant Joe Minicozzi of the Asheville-based Urban3, whose unsolicited, unpaid analysis was what prompted the commissioners to establish the reappraisal committee, says those changes haven’t gone far enough and that the committee itself wasn’t given a sufficient opportunity to review his firm’s work.
An action plan county staffers presented to the Board of Commissioners Oct. 18 includes steps to help owners of cheaper homes seek reductions if they think the county has valued their homes too highly, to get property owners to report when they upgrade their homes and to refine some aspects of how Buncombe’s appraisers do their jobs.
The county plans to spend $844,000 on new tax assessment initiatives over this fiscal year and the next. Actions include asking Buncombe residents to report improvements to their homes, buying software to double-check the valuations county staffers give to homes and reaching out to residents to help them challenge their property tax values.
The county’s ad hoc reappraisal committee, tasked with reviewing allegations that Buncombe’s tax assessment process was unfair to low-income residents and communities of color, presented its recommendations to the board. And commissioners approved annual funding for reparations, honoring a request from the joint Asheville-Buncombe Community Reparations Commission.
In response to a report by Asheville-based planning firm Urban3, Newman tasked county Tax Assessor Keith Miller with forming an ad hoc committee to provide guidance for future tax assessments and identify potential equity concerns. The committee presented its recommendations to the county July 19.
A 10-month review, designed to address citizen complaints and equity concerns about Buncombe County’s approach to property assessment, is scheduled to conclude at the Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday, July 19.