Good News, Lower Taxes; Bad News, Lower Home Values

February 28th, 2009 by WY Daily Staff

Today’s mail will likely bring some good news and bad news to some 5,000 James City County property owners.

The good news: Their property taxes are going down. The bad news: Their taxes are going down because their properties have dropped in value.

Notices of a change of assessment, sent by the county’s Real Estate Assessment Division, were mailed Friday to the owners of more than 5,000 properties.

Properties that received reductions were in neighborhoods across the County where assessed values exceeded current sale prices. Examples of neighborhoods that were reduced are: Fenwick Hills, down 5 percent; The Mews Townhomes, down 11 percent; Fairfax Woods, down 14 percent; Mulberry Place, down 7 percent; and La Fontaine, down 9 percent.

Examples of neighborhoods where the assessments remained the same are: Berkeley’s Green, Monticello Woods, Scott’s Pond, Jefferson’s Hundred and King’s Village.

The average residential assessed value has declined slightly from $353,756 to $351,356. A few properties increased in value through additions and other structural improvements.

The change of assessment collectively amounts to a less than one percent drop (.6 percent) in taxable value between Fiscal Year 2009 and Fiscal Year 2010. For the county budget, it means about a $400,000 drop in tax income.

The effective date of the assessment is January 1, 2009. The new values will be effective for Fiscal Year 2010 and will be reflected in tax payments due December 5, 2009 and June 5, 2010.

In accordance with James City County Code, the Real Estate Assessment Division assesses all real property annually based on the fair market value as of January 1. Sales that occur in the preceding 12 months are analyzed and compared to current assessed values to determine the level of assessment, and whether a property value should be increased, decreased or remain the same. The County analyzes properties by assessment areas, which are based on common land uses, types and age of buildings, value range and other locational characteristics. A nationally recognized computer valuation system is used to mass appraise the properties.


Property reassessment reviews may be requested from March 1 to March 30 by calling 757-253-6650 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. An appraiser will review the assessment to insure that the property information is correct, and to confirm that it represents fair market value and is equitable with other similar properties. If the issue is not resolved by phone, property owners may request that an appraiser visit the property. Property owners will be notified by mail if the assessment is revised.

Property owners who are dissatisfied with the outcome of the review may file an appeal with the Board of Equalization by April 29. Anyone may obtain more information on assessments in general, statistics related to this reassessment and review property online by visiting the County’s Website.

For information on the County’s tax relief program for elderly and disabled citizens, contact the Commissioner of the Revenue at 757-253-6695. The program provides real estate tax relief for home owners who are 65 or older and those who are permanently and totally disabled if they certain income and financial worth qualifications.

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