LUMBERTON — Robeson County taxpayers not satisfied with the recent revaluation of their property can seek satisfaction through a special board that will convene on Monday.
The Board of Equalization and Review will meet for the first time starting at 9 a.m. to accept appeal applications, according to county Tax Administrator Cindy Lowry. It will meet again on May 29 at 9 a.m. Both meetings will be in the county Board of Commissioners’ meeting room in the Administration Building at 701 N. Elm St. in Lumberton.
All requests for hearings should be made in writing to the Board of Equalization and Review or by personal appearance before the board, according to Lowry. Written requests should be mailed to: Robeson County Tax Administrator’s Office, 224 E. Fifth St., Room 102, Lumberton, N.C., 28358.
A notice will be published if the board is to adjourn earlier or later than May 29, according to Lowry.
The appeals process was printed on the back of the revaluation notices mailed out by the county Tax Office. A three-minute video explaining the appeals process can be found on the county’s website.
The office recently sent out 69,478 letters to homeowners advising them of their property’s new value, and 3,738 to business owners. As of April 25 the Tax Office had identified 1,500 properties for appeal, a rate of about 2 percent. Lowry said she was pleased with that, as appeals following revaluation are typically around 10 percent.
“Currently, our Real Estate and Revaluation Department is busy working to process the appeals and to return a notice back to our citizens that have appealed,” Lowry said in a statement.
The property revaluation process is mandated by state law and must be undertaken every eight years. It is intended to keep property values equitable.
In the 2018 revaluation, the total value of businesses and residences in Robeson County came to $6,290,165,564. The total value was $5,855,724,323 in 2010, the last time a revaluation was conducted. That is an increase of about 7.5 percent from 2010 to 2018.
The revaluation was farmed out in the past, but was conducted in-house this year at a cost of about $500,000, according to County Manager Ricky Harris. That is comparable to the cost of hiring an outside contractor.
The revaluation data will be used by the county Board of Commissioners in June when it decides a tax rate for the 2018-19 budget, which takes effect on July 1. The county’s current tax rate is 77 cents for every $100 of value. That rate was established in the 2011-12 year and has stayed steady since. It ranks 25th highest of North Carolina’s 100 counties.
If the rate were to stay the same it would raise about $48 million in revenue for county coffers based on the $6.3 billion figure. But that figure will likely come down as appeals are heard.
The Board of Equalization and Review is the first step in the appeals process. The next step is the North Carolina Property Tax Commission in Raleigh, and then the North Carolina Court of Appeals.
T.C. Hunter can be reached at [email protected] or by calling 910-816-1974.