A group of appraisers are currently scouring Sampson County and examining properties as part of the 2019 revaluation, during which property values are updated for tax purposes. That first phase of field work is now more than halfway complete, with a target to have it done by this summer.
State law requires revaluation of real property at a minimum of every eight years. Sampson’s last revaluation became effective Jan. 1, 2011 and the current revaluation will become effective January 2019. The readjustment is an effort to ensure the county’s tax system remains fire and equitable because values are based upon what the property is worth on the open market.
“We’re still pretty much in phase one, reviewing all the properties,” said Sampson County Tax administrator Jim Johnson. “As we flip into 2019, we’ll be looking at our schedule of values, and trying to get the new information keyed into the CAMA (Computer-Assisted Mass Appraisal) system so we can bill properly for 2019.”
The current reval process began with the award of the bid for revaluation services to Pearson Appraisal Service in December 2016. Fred Pearson of Pearson Appraisal Service and Robert Ezzell, project manager for Pearson and the supervisor for Sampson’s 2019 appraisal, said they are now more than halfway complete with visiting all of the parcels in the county.
Ezzell has 33 years’ experience and was the project supervisor for Sampson revaluation projects in 1995 and 2003.
“Sampson County is one of my favorite counties to work. It’s close to my home in Duplin County, so I’m considering a local fella,” said Ezzell, who listed the many others working on the project.
Also working on Sampson’s reval are appraisers Audrey Pruitt, another Duplin resident (25 years’ experience, three previous revals in Sampson), Buzz Accock (12 years’ experience), Brian Brewer (4 years’ experience) and Angie Johnson (3 years’ experience), along with Amy Whitley, who has 3 years’ experience working in IT. All appraisers are certified through The Department of Revenue in N.C.
As of Dec. 1, the appraisers had visited 30,900 of approximately 50,000 total parcels in the county. Appraisers are averaging 3,000 parcels visited per month, with all field work anticipated to be completed by July 2018.
“So we’re about 58 percent complete with the actual first phase of the job, which is going to every piece of property, talking with the owners, looking for any new construction or checking off anything that has been torn down,” said Ezzell.
According to Ezzell, as of December, they have been able to get access to the Tyler Appraisal Software and have begun to evaluate and make changes to the appraisal tables and rates. It is anticipated that by February 2019 all tables and rates will be adjusted to reflect market value.
According to the North Carolina Department of Revenue the most recent sales ratio study lists Sampson County as just over 100 percent of market value.
“This means we are reviewing all qualified sales and determining which properties need value adjustments and which property may not need an adjustment,” Pearson stated. “After careful study and analysis, some properties will increase in value and some properties will decrease in value.”
Pearson and Ezzell thanked Johnson and the assistance of the Sampson County Tax Administrator’s office.
“In our experience the more we work together, the better the project results,” Pearson stated. “Local knowledge is valuable and the history of certain properties is useful information for us to have.”
Ezzell said that local help is critical, providing knowledge that can prove vital in coming to the correct and most equitable values. Without it, the revaluation process would not be successful, he said. As with other revaluations, property values will likely change, even if slightly.
“There will be areas where we will have a little bit of an increase, there will be some areas that go down and a lot of areas will remain very close to the same,” Ezzell added. “Our job is to make it as uniform and as equitable as we can, not overtax anybody and try not to undertax anyone.”
Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.