See the updated Albemarle County real estate assessments yourself. I’ve done a random sampling and although I’ve been told that Albemarle County assessments are down ~3%, I’ve seen drops ranging from 1% to nearly 20%.
This stuff matters, not simply because the assessed values affect homeowners’ taxes, but the County’s entire budget and to a certain degree property values in that buyers look to assessments for an indication as to what market value may be. My opinion that that the assessment rarely is equivalent to true market value.
Albemarle’s county executive, Tom Foley, has told the Board of Supervisors he was basing his budget request for next fiscal year, which is still in the works, on an equalized tax rate of 76.5 cents per $100 of assessed real estate value.
Schools Superintendent Pam Moran based her budget request for next fiscal year on the same figure.
For now, the tax rate sits at 74.2 cents per $100. The equalized tax rate is the rate that would have property owners paying basically the same amount of taxes as the previous year, the side-effect of falling property values. That equalized rate is also in the county’s five-year financial plan.
County spokeswoman Lee Catlin said that the 76.5 cent rate is a “working” figure that will be finalized in the next couple of weeks as the county finishes this year’s assessments.
Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Ann H. Mallek said she is in favor of the equalized rate. Moving to the new rate, she said, will make possible long-neglected capital improvements such as the Crozet Library and a police firing range.
Assessed values have been declining for years, and they absolutely matter – to local budgets, to schools’ budgets and quality, and to communities’ qualities of life.
I’ve written about real estate assessments many times over the years; if you’re interested in this subject, you may want to spend some time reading some of those stories.