“It's too late to send out new rate cards,” said Tax Assessor Ricky Shoulders, “but if the property owner wants to know the proper, revised evaluation of their land, all they have to do is call or come by our office.”
Almost ten percent, or 1,200 out of about 13,000 parcels of property were mistakenly and dramatically increased in value during the recent property reappraisal process, county Tax Assessor Ricky Shoulders reported several weeks ago.
“I knew we had a problem when most all of the calls we had were from people in the northeast section of the county,” related Shoulders, who immediately pointed out the error to state officials who had done the official re-appraisal.
The appraisals for smaller Tennessee counties are done by state officials based on information supplied by Shoulder's county Tax Assessor's office. As it turned out, those state officials, based in Cookeville, used the wrong criteria to appraise property from the east side of Galen Road, through the Red Boiling Springs area and down to Willette, basically the northeast quadrant of the county, resulting in small farms, 15-30 acres seeing as much as a 210 percent markup in their value.
The average parcel of Macon County property appreciated by between 25-30 percent since the last re-appraisal in 2001.
Shoulders said the county is divided into essentially four divisions: R-I (the west side of the county); R-1 sub-category bordering Hwy. 52-W from Lafayette the Westmoreland; R-II (the northeast and eastern part of the county; and R-III (the southern section both east and west of Hwy. 10-south.
“We've seen property values (determined by sales) go off the charts on the west side of the county, and the same criteria used to re-appraise property out Hwy. 52-west was apparently used to re-appraise the R-II area,” related the tax assessor.
Shoulders had to present his case to the Macon County Equalization Board, and gained permission and authority from them on June 1 to “fix the problem.”
Shoulders ran into a roadblock when the number two man at the state Department of Property Assessments, Don Osborne, told him it was too late to make any changes, and if he proceeded to do so (Shoulder's) office would be held in non-compliance.
“I knew we couldn't do that. People would be stuck with an unfair and mistaken property appraisal and pay higher taxes for six years,” said Shoulders this week.
The tax assessor called the state board and made his case, “presenting proof that there was a problem” and they overrode Osborne's decision last week.
If you are among the nearly 1,200 east side property owners who were shocked by your first re-appraisal, you may call Shoulders' office at 666-3688 to get the revised evaluation.