Sunday, May 19, 2024

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County to continue using contractor for revaluation appeals

Commissioners also extend term of tax administrator Jeremy Akins

Alamance County’s commissioners have decided to allow an appraisal contractor to continue handling the county’s revaluation-related appeals as they continue to come before the county’s board of equalization and review.

Earlier this month, the commissioners unanimously agreed to let Vincent Valuations remain at the helm of this process at the behest of the county’s tax administrator Jeremy Akins, who had originally convinced the commissioners to hire this firm to help with the revaluation’s commercial appraisals.

When he presented this request to the commissioners on the evening of June 5, Akins reminded the commissioners that they had previously set aside $426,000 to cover Vincent’s fees during the reval as well as the post-revaluation appeals process. He added, however, that he may need as much as $662,500 to ensure the company remains on the job as appeals continue to go before the county’s board of equalization and review for the next three or four months.

Akins told the commissioners that Vincent has already proved its mettle through the equitable way it has dealt with the cases that have so far gone before this appointed, quasi-judicial body.

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“The Vincent team has dramatically improved our appeals process,” he added, “and they’ve brought a new level of professionalism to our board [of equalization and review]…Our appeals program is operating at a much higher level than it ever has before. I want to keep that consistency high and finish strong.”

Akins went on to estimate that the ongoing appeals process will cost the county an average of $75 per case. He nevertheless argued that the county is getting its money’s worth from the expense.

Alamance County tax administrator Jeremy Akins

“This is about 2.5 percent of one year’s revenue on an appealed property,” he said, “and I think this is money well spent.”

Akins added that he already has the funds in his departmental budget to cover the requested increase in Vincent’s contract. He conceded that he still needs a nod from the commissioners to expend the dollars, and the commissioners voted 5-to-0 to give him this authorization.

In the meantime, the commissioners voted unanimously to renew Akins’ commission as the county’s tax administrator for another four years. In justifying his vote, commissioner Craig Turner seemed to capture the group’s prevailing opinion about Akins’ performance since he took over this post in 2013.

Akins is one of four top county employees hired directly by the county commissioners; the others are the county manager, county attorney, and clerk to the board.

“I would just like to thank you for your steady hand and the professional, well-informed manner that you’ve handled this revaluation,” the commissioner said.

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