Now that Assessment Solutions has completed the initial reappraisal work and notices have been mailed, I hope this information will be beneficial to you as a taxpayer when considering if your value is fair and equitable in comparison to today's market value. There are several items to consider when determining if your value is correct, especially since most property owners have had no reason to obtain a recent market appraisal. Our last reappraisal in Franklin County was implemented eight years ago on January 1, 2004. As most people realize, market values for properties have been affected negatively in the last three to four years since the peak of 2007. However, as stated earlier, our last reappraisal was completed in 2004 when real estate values were appreciating significantly each year. During this eight year period from the last reappraisal, we had four years of significant growth and appreciation, and then the last three to four years values were declining. Another factor to consider is the level at which properties were appraised during the 2004 reappraisal. For example, if large acreage tracts were under-valued in the 2004 reappraisal, then the current value would not only correct the market value from 2004 to 2012, but the value would also include the value correction that was undervalued previously. An example of this would be if a parcel was valued at $5,000 per acre in 2004, but the actual market value was $8,000 per acre. Then, if the current market value for the 2012 reappraisal was stated at $10,000 per acre, even though it shows an increase of 100%, most of this increase had nothing to do with the market conditions from 2004 until now but was instead mostly due to an incorrect value assigned in 2004. This would also be true for parcels that may have been over-assessed in the 2004 reappraisal, not only considering the market conditions that exist between the two time periods, but also in correcting values that may have not been right at the time of the 2004 reappraisal. Another factor would be that even though this reappraisal was applied to all properties within Franklin County, each area of the County appreciated and depreciated at different levels. With one of the main purposes or goals of the county-wide reappraisal being to equitably distribute the tax burden, this process allows all properties that have appreciated and depreciated at different levels to once again be put back to the same level of assessment in regards to current market value.
As with all projects of this magnitude and the volume of parcels and data that are involved, we realize that there will be parcels that may be over-valued or under-valued or have some type of error that needs correcting. Due to this, we have established an appeal process that hopefully makes it more convenient for taxpayers to file their appeal without any inconvenience, or at least less inconvenience than ever before. As usual, one may call the phone number listed on the valuation notice and make an appointment to come and speak with someone personally, or they can complete the questionnaire and mail that back to the reappraisal company. We have also developed an electronic appeal process where an appeal can be filed without having to visit our office or do any type of mailings. Our goal is to make sure that anyone who feels that their value is unfair has the opportunity to provide any documentation or information that may help us correct any issue or value that warrants a change.
Again, I hope this information will help you as a taxpayer to make an informed decision regarding your property tax value.
Jimmy Tanner, Tax Administrator