If you’re a property owner in Lee County, by now you’ve probably received one of those letters informing you of the new tax value of whatever it is that you own, whether it’s a home, a commercial property, or something else.
Those letters are the result of the county’s revaluation for 2019, which by law must be conducted at least once each eight years. Lee County, however is on a four year cycle and last did a revaluation in 2013; another one set for 2017 was delayed for two years, putting us where we are today.
And while property values in Lee County increased on average – residential values increased by an average of three to four percent, and commercial/industrial values went up by 30 percent on average – what that looks like for your property tax picture later in the year is yet to be seen. The Board of County Commissioners will set the property tax rate for fiscal year 2019-20 sometime before July.
All that is per Michael Brown, the reappraisal coordinator who gave a recent presentation on the revaluation effort to the Sanford Board of Realtors. And while many tax values changed, Brown said those rates don’t necessarily reflect a market price for a property.
“Our point in time is Jan. 1, 2019,” he said. “If properties thereafter sell for a different value, we’re not going to change our information. Our value is going to stay in place unless something changes until the next revaluation. Markets go up and down – we can’t change value for inflation or because of economic changes.”
Of course, property owners can appeal the new values – Brown said it’s not unheard of, especially in cases where properties see a dramatic increase in value – but he stressed that the revaluation process is a fair one based on a number of factors, including comparison to other nearby properties, changes and upgrades to the property, and more.
“With this reappraisal, we’re gonna take all property in the county – land, residential, commercial/industrial properties, and we’re gonna establish new values using a few approaches to value,” he said. “We’re gonna be talking about cost approaches, replacement costs, depreciation, the sales approach. And we’ll be talking about the income approach for income-producing properties.”
Property owners wanting to appeal their new values need to do so informally by March formally by May. You can start that process by contacting the Lee County Tax Department at (919) 718-4660. Appeals can also be made online at http://www.leecountync.gov. According to Brown, those wishing to make an appeal should be prepared to show why they feel the change in property value is incorrect.
“We’re looking for information to help us understand what you’re trying to convey to us. Documentation is key,” he said. “Information that you have that shows that your property should be valued at a different value, that will be key.”