Regional Assessments Discussed

Published 2:50 pm Tuesday, July 29, 2014

PRINCE EDWARD — It’s a football that’s been kicked around some in the past, but it’s a fresh season and localities will take a look to see if there is merit in combining land assessment efforts.

Prince Edward, following up on a suggestion from Buckingham through the Commonwealth Regional Council (CRC), is willing to take a look.

Localities, by State Code, must have a reassessment of county properties every four years (although those with populations less than 50,000 may do so every five or six years). If a locality has at lest one full-time appraiser or assessor they may conduct reassessments biennially or annually.

Email newsletter signup

What has been suggested, and participating members of the CRC are weighing, is the potential of having a full-time office that would serve the needs of CRC localities: Amelia, Buckingham, Charlotte, Prince Edward, and Lunenburg. Assessments would continue in their cycle, but individual counties would no longer have to hire an outside firm to do the work for them.

Buckingham County sparked the discussion when they unanimously requested the CRC to see if there was an interest among the localities.

“We know it is not financially feasible for one county to establish a full-time reassessment office so Buckingham would like to see if the other counties of the CRC membership would be interested in pursuing this as a regional project,” Buckingham County Administrator Rebecca S. Carter wrote to CRC Executive Director Mary Hickman June 10.

Requests were forwarded to CRC member county administrators.

“…Right now, the concept is not to disrupt the current cycle, just investigate whether or not there’s a cost savings…by hiring people…to where that everybody pays some every year, but overall… less than what we do for the assessment,” noted Buffalo District Supervisor C.R. “Bob” Timmons Jr., the County’s representative to the CRC, said at the July meeting.

Prince Edward, in the midst of its own reassessment, does not know the final cost for reassessing the value of land properties. That, County Administrator Wade Bartlett cited in a memo to the board, is determined by the number of parcels, mobile homes and the number of pictures taken. The cost isn’t known until the work is completed; however, Prince Edward has budgeted $213,000.

Factoring that figure would mean the County’s annual average cost is $35,500—and a much easier budget pill to swallow every year. Still, there may not be any savings, though proceeding is expected to provide cost analysis.

“This is just very, very preliminary and it’s just getting permission to go forward and do some more investigation,” Timmons said.