Tuesday, was a busy day for the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors, who held three meetings today. They had a finance committee meeting, a work session, and a public business session. At the finance committee meeting, Interim County Administrator Clarence Monday presented the members with a proposed county budget, which will be presented to county residents and taxpayers soon and then voted on by the entire board of supervisors.
There has been a lot of worry among citizens that higher tax rates were going to come. Inflation is now visible everywhere and last year real estate property owners received reassessments in the mail that presented them with a huge sticker shock. The previous board had contracted the property reassessment out to a company called Brightminds. Many complained on social media of sticker shock around Thanksgiving, seeing their real estate values rise from over 30% and even some claims of rises in the 50-100% range, while others that own pure land had seen their values drop by 20% in some cases. It was confusing, frightening, and not clear ultimately what people would end up owing.
Last year the county filed with the state for an extension on the assessments and also got the State Department of Taxation to come in and examine the situation.
Interim County Administrator Clarence Monday, with the assistance of the county staff, presented a budget yesterday that pushed these Brightminds assessments to the side and used the one previously certified, four years ago in 2018, with adjustments for new structures, using information from building permits for their values. It also did not increase the real estate property tax rate nor the personal property tax rate either. In fact, the latter now has a 30% reduction of market value for cars, something done due to the fact that the value of cars has gone up dramatically in the past year due to inflation. You can hear Mr. Monday describe the tax budget and mention the reassessments in this video of the finance committee meeting in the 18:50-22:00 mark.
Last year, the reassessments caused a lot of concern among many about how much their taxes would go up this year when they got notices of them in the mail. Panic and even anger was directed at some of the board members and the former county administrator. One man from Stokesdale wrote a lengthy editorial to the Chatham Star-Tribune this January asking why he did not do any “quality assurance” of the reassessment results from Brightminds. It turned out that Brightminds had their results once thrown out by another county.
This is all in the past now, because now Mr. Monday, and the county employees who helped him with the budget, has saved the county taxpayers from this reassessment mess.
That said, Monday also explained that he only was able to keep the tax rates where they are by putting as hard of a lid on spending as he could and also due to the fact that extra tax revenue came in thanks to an increase in the sales and meals tax that the previous board passed last year. Inflation at the restaurants and stores also pushed those tax receipts up too.
The bottom line, though, is that the scary reassessments are gone and people’s taxes did not go up.
Frankly, I am surprised, I thought mine would go up as everything else has this year, so this seems like a big win for everyone.
More good things are coming for the county.
It sure looks like Supervisors Tim Chesher, Jesse Barksdale, Vic Ingram, and Darrell Dalton made the right choice when they voted to get Clarence Monday to come back to the county government.
You can read the full official resolution the board of supervisors passed concerning the real estate assessment here.