Montgomery County Property Assessments Spark Anger

6:50 PM, Mar 1, 2012   |    comments
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Montgomery County

Montgomery County - Imagine receiving a notice in the mail that says your property value has doubled. That's exactly what happened to some people in Montgomery County.

State law requires the county to reassess everyone's property every eight years. Ever since this reassessment, people have been flooding the Montgomery County tax office with questions and complaints.

Montgomery County Manager Matthew Woodard said, "It's based on actual sales. We didn't pick one neighborhood or one community and think they were well off, so we can increase their taxes. It's a very methodical process. Procedures are outlined by the state."

However, people who received assessment notices saying their property values had more than doubled think this isn't fair. An assessment increase is separate from a tax increase. The county commissioners will have the option adjust the tax rate in May and people in Montgomery County will certainly put pressure on those commissioners to lower the tax rate.

Montgomery County resident Hal Callicutt said, "The county commissioners tell me that we need to individually go to them. Well, they're not going to live that long for all the people that are going to go to them."

Jimmy Freeman, another county resident added, "I don't know what the county's trying to do to us, but people can't pay that. I can't pay that."

Montgomery County resident Keith Sechrest said, "I think if they want to have the price set at that amount, the county ought to have to come out and say, 'We'll buy it if you can't sell it for that.'"

So, are the county's numbers off? The county manager showed News 2 a spreadsheet which has information from December, January and February. It shows the county's new assessed values were essentially in line with the property's selling price.

So, will the commissioners lower the tax rate to prevent large tax increases because of the higher values? We won't know for a few months.

However, News 2 did ask the county manager if the county was struggling financially.

Woodard responded, "As far as our fiscal health, we're in much better standing than we were. The commissioners and the county have done a wonderful job."

Anyone who thinks their reassessed property value is wrong can contact the county and they'll look into it. It won't cost you anything to file a complaint.

Much of the confusion from this situation could have been avoided. The county hosted five meetings to explain the reassessment process. A total of about 30 people showed up. 27,000 people live in Montgomery County.

 

WFMY News 2

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