“In the past the values have always increased,” Bradley County Tax Assessor Stanley Thompson said.
Thompson said this was the first time he has seen the property values decrease.
The assessor’s office sent out 47,000 notices to residents that the value of their property has changed.
“The main goal of reappraisal is to arrive at market value, which is basically in state law and there is an equalization factor in there,” Thompson said.
Reappraisal is used to try to ensure residents and businesses are not paying too much or too little taxes based on property values.
Residents with questions have already begun calling the assessor’s office.
Some residents have called to say they think the value is lower than it should be, Thompson said. Residents who feel the statement is inaccurate can call and start the appeals process.
Appeals also have an effect on the certified tax rate. If an individual or business wins an appeal, then it changes the overall factors and the tax rate will be adjusted to ensure the county will bring in the same amount of taxes as last year.
Since the property value decreased, and in order to ensure the same level of funding for county and city government, the property tax rate will go up.
The amount of increase is determined by the State Board of Equalization, which determines the certified tax rate.
“In a perfect world the tax rate would be, if (value) lowered 6 percent. They raise the rate up 6 percent and your taxes are basically the same,” Thompson said.
Reappraisal is completed every four years in Bradley County.
Property tax rates before the reapprasial were $1.79 per $100 of accessed value for within the city limits, $2.20 per $100 for those in five-mile fringe areas and $2.13 per $100 for those living in the county outside this fringe area. Those within the Cleveland city limits pay an additional $1.49 per $100 in property taxes. Those in the city of Charlston pay an addittional $.42.
Appraisal is based on “good sales” from the previous year and many real estate factors are considered, according to Thompson.
“We don’t use foreclosures ,because they aren’t considered a good sale,” Thompson said. “Good sales really determine the market.”
Some areas in the county, such as apartments and some commercial properties did not decrease in value.
Property values have also decreased in some surrounding counties, according to Thompson.
Residents have until May 21 to call with questions or appeals.
Those with questions about reappraisal can call the assessors’ office at 423-728-7134.