Alamance County’s commissioners have agreed to let the county’s tax administrator enlist more contracted appraisers to speed up the completion of the county’s next revaluation, which had originally been scheduled to wrap up in March of 2023.
During a regularly-scheduled meeting on Monday, the commissioners unanimously agreed to expand an existing contract with the firm Vincent Valuations in order to advance the revaluation’s target completion date from March 1 to January 15 of 2023.
The commissioners ultimately approved this contract’s extension at the behest of the county’s tax administrator Jeremy Akins, who requested the additional contracted labor specifically to gather non-local information that the tax office will need for its evaluation of residential tax values.
Akins reminded the commissioners that he had originally enlisted Vincent Valuations strictly to handle commercial appraisals, preferring his own in-house appraisers to deal with residential real estate. Akins acknowledged that he has come to reconsider this decision since his last status report on the reval, which had prompted some of the commissioners to demand an earlier end to this mass reappraisal so they’ll have more time to set a property tax rate based on the county’s new tax values.
The county’s tax administrator assured the commissioners that he still intends to use the tax office’s nine staff appraisers to gather the local data necessary to evaluate residential property.
“I want to keep our appraisers here in house setting the values [on residential properties].” he told the commissioners. “So, in talking to Mr. Vincent [of Vincent Valuations], he made the suggestion…to use the contracted support to do non-localized work.”
Akins said that, if Vincent took over all of his staff’s non-local work, the tax office would have enough hands on deck to complete the whole mass reappraisal by January 15, 2023. He added, however, that this change would drive up the cost of Vincent’s contract by as much as $119,700.
During his appearance on Monday, Akins also asked the commissioners for permission to bring in more contracted help during the first six weeks of the appeals process that will follow the distribution of new tax values to property owners in January of 2023. He also sought another $48,000 for a software package that he felt would greatly enhance the public’s ability to navigate the appeals process.
These two requests ultimately fell flat with commissioner Craig Turner, who insisted that he and his colleagues should give their immediate attention to the revaluation’s completion date rather than to any appeals-related proposals.
“I think we should deal with the alligator closest to the canoe,” he told the rest of the commissioners, “and I think we should move the completion date as soon as we can.”
Turner’s commissioners readily accepted this logic, and they proceeded to vote 5-to-0 to expand the agreement with Vincent Valuations so that the tax office can finish the reval by January 15, 2023. The consensus of the group was summed up that evening by a remark that commissioner Bill Lashley directed specifically to Akins.
“I want you to start as soon as possible,” Lashley told the county’s tax administrator, “and I want you to get everything that you need for this revaluation…because our citizens have never seen an increase in values like this one.”