At tonight’s Board of Supervisors meeting, for Pittsylvania County, it was decided to request a 90 day extension of the formal certification of the county’s property tax reassessment carried out by the Brightminds company. The county government sent out notices of the reassessment a few days before Thanksgiving that shocked many, as I wrote last month: “People that own real estate in Pittsylvania County received reassessment notices in the mail with new updates on their property values this month and projected tax payments. Many have complained on social media of sticker shock, seeing their real estate values rise from 30% and even some claims of 50-100%, while others that own pure land have seen their values drop by 20% in some cases. I can report that I have seen such land assessment notices with my own eyes. The value increases have generated a fear of being soaked by higher taxes by many.”
This has caused a controversy for weeks and generated lots of comments on social media and informally to the supervisors through phone calls. At this meeting this became the first big topic of discussion, with Supervisor Vic Ingram saying that, although he has only been one out of seven supervisors in the past year (he has been in a two-person minority on the board, dominated by a five person bloc, even formally attacked by them), during that time, he still feels “ashamed” of what they have done with these reassessments and said that he “apologized.” Supervisor Tim Dudley talked of one person telling him that they got notice that their taxes are expected to go up 200%, and in one case 400%, in the reassessment. He spoke of how people on fixed incomes are under the threat of a heavy burden who “absolutely can not afford it.”
Vice-Chairman Ron Scearce, of Westover District, seemed to suggest in remarks that he wants to stick with the Brightminds reassessment and then lower the tax rate so it can be a wash for people. This is a plan he has talked about before and he seems to feel that people just don’t understand what he is trying to do.
Chairman Bob Warren said that as a board they need to “apologize” for the results Brightminds has generated, and may need to question them, and he promised that they will all work together to study and fix the situation, using the 90 day extension to do it and “get this corrected.”
The assistant county administrator said that the Virginia Department of Taxation is going to study the reassessment for “quality control” and “data collection.”
You can see these remarks made at about 16 minutes into the meeting.
More coming on this in the Chatham Star-Tribune this week, I’d expect.
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