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2,536 property owners 
appealed new tax value

Board of Equalization & Review Vice Chair Whitney Staton and Chair Robert Pierce listen to a property tax appeal during the first meeting of the board to hear this year’s cases. Board of Equalization & Review Vice Chair Whitney Staton and Chair Robert Pierce listen to a property tax appeal during the first meeting of the board to hear this year’s cases.

Just over 2,500 property owners have appealed new assessed values under Henderson County’s 2019 reappraisal, or about 3.8 percent of the 68,000 parcels the county reappraised for tax purposes.

Tax Administrator Darlene Burgess reported the number of appeals, 2,536, as the county Board of Equalization & Review convened on Monday for the first time to begin hearing appeals. County appraisers reviewed and made a call on the informal appeals received through the April 12 deadline. Notices of the county’s decision went out last week, Burgess said. She did not yet have a count of how many of those property owners had appealed to the Board of E&R. Property owners may appeal through May 15, when the board adjourns and closes the appeal period.
The tax office was prepared for an appeal rate as high as 10 percent, or nearly 7,000 cases. The 2019 appeal rate of 3.8 percent is higher than the rate in 2015 of 2.02 percent and in 2011 of 1.34 percent.
The Board of E&R took up just two cases when it convened this week. It upheld continuing present use value for agriculture purposes for land that was in the process of changing hands. In a second case, it upheld a staff recommendation to deny present-use value on property where the owners had failed to apply for the farm-use deferment as required by law.
The Henderson County Board of Commissioners has not yet announced the revenue neutral rate for the 2019-20 tax rate. Two cities have signaled that they plan to adopt tax rates higher than the revenue neutral rate.
In Mills River, the Town Board tentatively agreed last month to a tax rate of 17 cents per $100 valuation, from 18 cents currently. The town did not yet disclose the revenue neutral rate, although the overall taxable value increased by 19.2 percent.
The Hendersonville City Council voted 4-1 last week to keep the city tax rate the same, 49 cents per $100 valuation, even though the city’s overall taxable value spiked by 24.4 percent. Council members have committed to an array of capital and personnel costs over the next four years, including debt service on a new $11½ million police station, a potential new southside fire station, Seventh Avenue improvements and downtown restrooms; an expanded employee health insurance benefit costing $300,000 a year; and adding nine firefighters, plus an engine and ladder truck. In the meantime, the city has committed to $480,000 a year for SROs in four schools and started an animal control squad, has seen its sales tax share from the county fall and lost $400,000 when the state killed the privilege license tax.
The revenue neutral rate is 41.8 cents per $100 valuation, city officials said. One cent on the tax rate generates about $210,000 a year in the city.