Chief Appraiser Dan Rollf provided a brief update on tax assessments and the housing market in Bryan County during the commission meeting Tuesday.
"Last week, we finished up three days of Board of Equalization hearings and there are 13 left," he said. "We’re going to be on time with our digest this year."
Rollf said digest notices will be sent out the second week of May.
"We’re going to be okay this year," he said. "Reevaluations will likely be done in three specific neighborhoods, at the request of the Board of Equalization. They’re not demanding it, but I agree that it should be done. The intention will be to stabilize the neighborhood and there will likely be some decreased values there."
Rollf could not be reached for additional information on which neighborhoods may be reevaluated, but County Administrator Phil Jones said the neighborhoods are probably high turnover areas with a lot of sales. Jones said the values on the books with the assessor’s office are probably low, resulting in the recommendation for a reevaluation.
As far as home sales in Bryan County, Rollf said while there is a lot going on with the market, the county appears to be doing much better than the rest of the nation.
"The fact is, I had 890 sales for the Board of Equalization hearings. Of the 890 sales that went before the Board of Equalization, 120 were sold below our property values on an average of $20,000. The rest of them sold at or more than our values on an average of $40,000," he said, noting they had about 200 sales less this year.
"It’s hard for people to understand that we’re doing okay when they hear what’s going on," he said. "And we are seeing evidence of foreclosures – but it’s not as much as I would’ve expected. We may see more of that in 2008, but I think Bryan County’s been pretty lucky in that sense."
Rollf said the county is seeing a slowdown in building and in people selling their properties.
"But we’re not being hit nearly as hard as other areas. That’s no consolation for builders or people trying to sell their homes, but it’s not that bad."
Rollf said they’re currently trying to figure out what might happen this year. He said Bryan County is about 7.5 percent below the market, based on the sales in the system.
"If we did a reevaluation this year, we’d of had to go up (on property values), but we want to wait until we see 2008 sales to see if there’s any kind of trends," he said. "We’re still seeing some pretty strong sales."
In other business:
- House Bill 1329 Water and Sewer Authority Act had some changes made by Senator Eric Johnson. "This has to do with condemnation and the power of imminent domain for this authority," Jones said, noting there are no major changes to it. County Attorney Charles Brown said the commissioners should concur with the changes and said the provisions also say that if the authority needed acquisition of property, it could be requested at that time. They wouldn’t have condemnation power they would have to go before the county commission to ask for that. "The changes have not altered the intent or the purpose of the act," Brown said.
- The budget amendment for 2007 was approved. Jones said seven county budgets were slightly overspent, including Clerk of Courts, Probate Court, Sheriff, Magistrate Court, Section 5311, Maintenance Shop and Family Connections.
The remaining 24 areas of the budget - and the budget as a whole - were under spent, Jones said. The county collected more revenue than expected and he recommended $304,869 from the Local Option Sales tax be used across the seven overdrawn accounts.
- The proposed budget calendar for 2009 was unanimously approved, slating the 2009 budget to be adopted on July 1. The proposed budget is scheduled to be available for public review on May 28 with a public hearing scheduled for July 11.