BOONE – For the first time in 2022, the Watauga County Board of Commissioners met, dealing with budget matters while hearing about the planned reassessment of property values.
Initially scheduled the day before, the meeting on Wednesday January 19 was postponed by one day due to bad weather over the weekend. In addition to a modified schedule, the meeting also saw the council operate under reduced staff due to the absence of Commissioners Carrington Pertalion and Larry Turnbow.
A big part of the meeting was hearing from Ryan Vincent of Vincent Valuations, who is leading the 2022 reassessment, which will give Watauga County an accurate and updated look at property values.
“Revaluation is the process by which we go through and appraise all properties on any given day and bring them down to their current market value,” Vincent said. “This day here is January 1, 2022. This includes all properties – residential, commercial, industrial – just real estate property.”
Vincent said the assessment would not include personal property. He added that state laws require a major reassessment to be done once every eight years, and Watauga’s time is now.
“What we’re doing here is spreading the property tax burden evenly based on market value,” Vincent said. “Some areas of the county have changed faster than other areas.”
Vincent said the plan is to have new market values that will be used to calculate upcoming tax bills this summer, and the plan is to send notices to homeowners at the end of March.
He noted that the boom in the real estate market has pushed up home prices in recent months, showing a slide show of home sales like the one at Beech Mountain that was appraised at $98,500 in 2014 and sold for $275,000 in July.
Commissioner Billy Kennedy noted that none of the homes featured in the slideshow have depreciated in value, but Vincent pointed out that there will be some properties in Watauga that have depreciated since 2014.
Kennedy expressed concern about rising prices and the difficulty many people have in finding affordable housing in Watauga.
Vincent said owners will have the ability to appeal the assessments, which will be judged by either the assessment team or the Equalization and Review Board – a board made up of the commissioners with County Executive Deron Geouque in as an alternate. The deadline to submit an appeal is April 26 and the council will meet for the first time on April 5.
Also on the commissioners’ agenda was a purchase request from the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office for seven vests and eight ballistic helmets totaling $31,361.31. The board approved the purchase, which was made using US bailout funds.
The board was also tasked with setting the dates for its annual pre-budget retreat and two budget work sessions for the fiscal year 2022-23 budget.
The board was reluctant to commit to a fixed date due to the absences of Pertalion and Turnbow, setting a tentative retirement date for February 17 and 18 and business session dates for May 12 and 13.
The next scheduled meeting of the Watauga County Board of Commissioners is Tuesday, February 1.