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Contractor hired for 2017 county tax revaluation 

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A Dallas, Texas-based company will help the county tax department meet a Jan. 1, 2017, deadline to visit and revaluate all property on the county tax rolls.

New Hanover County Commissioners unanimously approved a $1.09 million contract with Tyler Technologies during a Jan. 5 meeting to use new data collected by the county tax department to update property values.

Tyler Technologies, a company that provides software and technology services to the public sector, did not offer the lowest price, but was selected for its experience and qualifications compared to two other companies that submitted bids to complete the work, said county tax administrator Roger Kelley.

For the first time in almost 25 years, county appraisers will visit every taxable residential and commercial property, more than 100,000 total, to assure each one is assigned a fair value, an effort that began in the fall of 2013 and is expected to wrap up by April 2016. Kelley said he needs to contract out the second phase of the work — using the information collected by county appraisers and researching the market to adjust values as needed — to finish the revaluation by 2017. The work performed by county staff constitutes more than half the job, he noted.

“Probably close to 50, 60 percent of the cost is the legwork of going out and revisiting every property, and because of the data we knew was out there, and since we knew we haven’t revisited the properties since ’89, ’90, somewhere in that area, we felt it was long overdue,” Kelley said.

The county’s effort is about 35 percent complete, Kelley said during a Dec. 18, 2014, agenda review with commissioners. Updated information has been gathered for about 30,000 properties so far. Due to staff turnover, though, the tax department is about 11,000 properties behind schedule. Kelley cited two staff members recently lost to higher-paying jobs during the agenda review.

Appraisers are tasked with photographing and measuring every property in search of improvements or deterioration that may adjust the value. When property owners are not home, appraisers try as best as possible to gather information and leave a door hanger questionnaire that can be returned or filled out online.

The county aims to make contact with every property owner, either in-person or through the questionnaires. Appraisers talked to about 8,000 property owners during the visits so far, Kelley said during the agenda review. Door hangers were left for the rest, of which about 4,500 were returned by mail and 600 returned by email or fax.

Property owners will be able to question new values or file an appeal after the new values are released Jan. 1, 2017.
The county appraisers’ progress, including which properties are scheduled for the next visits, is chronicled in an online map available at http://tax.nhcgov.com/2017-revaluation/

Following a brief closed session at the end of the meeting, interim clerk to the board Teresa Elmore was appointed to fill the position permanently. Chairman Jonathan Barfield Jr. said the board wanted to acknowledge Elmore’s dedicated service following the abrupt departure of former clerk Sheila Schult.

“I thank you so much for what you’ve done for the county, how you came in and accepted the interim title and didn’t let anything stop you. I know that you took a lot of work home, not being paid for it, but you just wanted to make sure you were up to speed, and you never got behind,” Barfield said.

Elmore previously served as deputy clerk along with Kym Crowell. Schult resigned July 21, 2014, after learning a majority of the board was unhappy with her performance.

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