Albemarle County tax assessments rise

Again. It’s amazing what a simple press release will generate –

The HooK and the Daily Progress were first to publish, but, here’s the release anyway (full release below the “fold”)

The average annual increases for specific magisterial districts are as follows (biennial increases are in parenthesis):

– Rio                                          13.57 % (27.14 %)
– Jack Jouett                            11.27 % (22.54 %)
– Rivanna                                  14.98 % (29.96 %)
– Samuel Miller                        15.64 % (31.28 %)
– Scottsville                              15.54 % (31.08 %)
– White Hall                              16.72 % (33.44 %)
– Town of Scottsville                15.93 % (31.87 %)

Virginia, unlike some other states, requires localities to assess property at 100% of fair market value, which makes the reassessment process an objective analysis of the property’s actual worth in the marketplace.  Albemarle County has consistently ranked among the top jurisdictions in the state in statewide Assessment/Sales Ratio studies conducted by the Virginia Department of Taxation.

For the two year period covered by this reassessment, Albemarle County continued to experience a strong upward trend in real estate value.  The following is a comparison with neighboring and comparable jurisdictions across Virginia.  As demonstrated by this chart, Albemarle County is not alone in experiencing rapidly increasing property values and a strong real estate market.

Locality – Most Recent Annual Increase

– Albemarle County – 14.9 %
– City of Charlottesville – 13 – 15% *
– Greene County – 24%
– Goochland County – 18.5 %
– Fluvanna County – 21%  (Daniel Rothamel’s excellent ongoing coverage here)
– Orange County – 25%
– Augusta County – 8 % (January 2005)

*preliminary

Interestingly, no one specific district within Albemarle County had an inordinately higher or lower rate of appreciation.

Some of the better discussion about local governments’ seemingly insatiable thirst for property taxes is at the Real Estate Bloggers. Surprisingly, they always seem to find a way to spend the extra money. But, what will we do if some localities alone are responsible for their roads? (HT: Waldo) Should we limit property assessments?

If anybody is successful in challenging their assessments, I would love to hear about it, either in the comments or by contacting me.

But, did you know that the County of Albemarle pays the City of Charlottesville a percentage of its property taxes? Some say .10 per dollar, some say it’s closer to 6.2 cents … either way, more than 10 million dollars of Albemarle County’s property tax income went to the City in this Fiscal Year. Learn more here, here and PDF here. (via Google)

A brief history of Albemarle County assessments, thanks to Cvillenews: 2003, 2003 20042005, 2005  Our community is quite fortunate to have such as resource.

*Next year the County of Albemarle will be switching to annual reassessments, for a variety of reasons – not least fact that the biennial “sticker shock” is painful. Taxes should be somewhat painful, as they reinvigorate the peoples’ desire to enact oversight over their elected representatives.

Related reading: Charlottesville Tomorrow’s excellent post on recent City/County transportation work sessions.

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Albemarle County is sending reassessment notices to taxpayers this week reflecting changes in property values due to the biennial reassessment process.  The reassessment figures reflect the continued strong growth of the regional economy during the reassessment period and the impact of that growth on local real estate demand and value.

The reassessment reflects an annual average rate of approximately 14.90 %, resulting in an overall biennial rate of 29.80 %.  This compares to an annual average rate of 13.61 %, or  27.21 % biennial rate, for the previous reassessment period.  This 29.80 % increase is an average, residents should be aware that individual properties may vary significantly from that number.
Reassessments in Albemarle County will be done on an annual basis beginning next year, so property owners will receive their next reassessment in January, 2008.  An annual process will allow county assessors to react more quickly to changes in the real estate market and to reflect those changes in reassessments to individual properties.

The average annual increases for specific magisterial districts are as follows (biennial increases are in parenthesis):

– Rio                                          13.57 % (27.14 %)
– Jack Jouett                            11.27 % (22.54 %)
– Rivanna                                  14.98 % (29.96 %)
– Samuel Miller                        15.64 % (31.28 %)
– Scottsville                              15.54 % (31.08 %)
– White Hall                              16.72 % (33.44 %)
– Town of Scottsville                15.93 % (31.87 %)

Virginia, unlike some other states, requires localities to assess property at 100% of fair market value, which makes the reassessment process an objective analysis of the property’s actual worth in the marketplace.  Albemarle County has consistently ranked among the top jurisdictions in the state in statewide Assessment/Sales Ratio studies conducted by the Virginia Department of Taxation.

For the two year period covered by this reassessment, Albemarle County continued to experience a strong upward trend in real estate value.  The following is a comparison with neighboring and comparable jurisdictions across Virginia.  As demonstrated by this chart, Albemarle County is not alone in experiencing rapidly increasing property values and a strong real estate market.

Locality – Most Recent Annual Increase

– Albemarle County – 14.9 %
– City of Charlottesville – 13 – 15% *
– Greene County – 24%
– Goochland County – 18.5 %
– Fluvanna County – 21%  (Daniel Rothamel’s coverage here)
– Orange County – 25%
– Augusta County – 8 % (January 2005)

*preliminary

The increase in this biennial reassessment continues a general upward trend the county has been experiencing since 1997.  The new assessments will be reflected in the real estate bills which will be mailed in April, 2007.

Following the mailing of reassessments for Albemarle County residents this week, County officials encourage anyone who would like more information or who wishes to appeal their assessment to contact the Real Estate Division of the Finance Department at (434)296-5851.  The best initial step in appealing a reassessment is to talk directly to the assessor who created the valuation to check for correctness and to receive an explanation why the value changed.  If a property owner is not satisfied with this step, the appeal can be directed to the Board of Equalization.

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6 Comments

  1. TrvlnMn January 22, 2007 at 18:27

    I don’t have a good handle on the exact boundries of the districts. However at first glance it seems to me that the rural areas are seeing larger jumps then the more urban areas. Yes they were higher than the urban areas to begin with, but don’t they use less services?

    In any case If I’m carrying the weight for those living closer to town, and the developers (meaning the BoS failure to get adequate proffers for infrastructure from them). Then I also want hourly bus service from my outer edge of Albemarle Co into town.

  2. jm January 22, 2007 at 20:16

    Trvlnn, Lots of county services cost less to provide where there is higher density such as road maintenance. Utilities are far more expensive to provide to out lying areas like where you appear to live.

    There are many advantages to encourage what growth there is to be close to Charlottesville and Crozet and away from rural areas and areas with inadequate roads.

    One way to do that would be to have higher taxes for those who choose to live further away where services are more expensive to deliver. Maybe rural areas should have a 10% surcharge for electricity from the utilities…

  3. TrvlnMn January 22, 2007 at 22:04

    Utilities are far more expensive to provide to out lying areas like where you appear to live.

    […]

    Maybe rural areas should have a 10% surcharge for electricity from the utilities…

    The County of Albemarle isn’t providing my electricity. That service is being provided for by a “For profit” company not a welfare program.

    I understand the point you’re trying to make- but it still seems like the rural areas are subsidizing the urban areas- and as an additional point the county wants the rural areas to stay rural (for the benefit of the Urban areas) and pay for that privilege.

    No thanks.

  4. Jim Duncan January 23, 2007 at 19:17

    Count me as one who will be challenging my new assessment. They’ve got to be kidding.

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