New Roanoke County beat reporter Annie McCallum has a story today about incorrect sale prices posted on the county’s GIS system.
She sent along this post today with a little more background information:
Roanoke County officials have spent plenty of time the last month talking about real estate assessments and whether incorrect sale price information on the county’s GIS system may have impacted how much residents pay in taxes. (See today’s story for the latest on the issue from Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors work session.)
It’s possible all this chit chat about assessments could leave some folks with a lingering sense of déjà vu.
According to Roanoke Times archives, it’s not the first time county officials found themselves talking assessments and taking a look at the county’s real estate evaluation department.
In October 2005, Supervisor Butch Church brought up the issue of assessments, questioning whether county officials engaged in inappropriate practices and asking for an evaluation of the department. Church also asked for Tuesday’s work session.
An outside consultant later deemed the department was doing a “commendable job,” and was fair and equitable. At that time an official from the Virginia Department of Taxation also said assessments were in line with what was happening in the rest of the state.
Then-county administrator Elmer Hodge and Billy Driver, who was then and is now the head of the county’s real estate evaluation department, “vigorously defended the county’s procedures and denied any irregularities,” according to the archives.
The county’s real estate valuations came into question in 2005 after longtime assessor Susan Simmons quit and told supervisors there was constant pressure to increase assessments. If Simmons’ name sounds familiar it should, you’ll recall she was fairly outspoken in her criticism of Roanoke County’s sale price error at Tuesday’s work session.
A definitive answer on what the sale price mistake means for the residents and their taxes is expected at the end of the month. After being asked by county officials to take a look, the Virginia Department of Taxation spent two days looking into the situation. A report from the department is expected to be presented to county officials at the end of the month.
It is worth noting that County Administrator Clay Goodman said Tuesday that the five or six sales he reviewed when the issue first came up did not indicate the incorrect sale price affected the assessed value.
In the meantime, if you are county resident who has had issues with your assessment or has appealed to the Board of Equalization we want to hear from you. Email Roanoke County reporter Annie McCallum at email@example.com or call her at 540/981-3227.
– Annie McCallum