July 24, 2001

PRESENT: Joel C. Harbinson, Vice-Chairman
William L. Hammer
W. Darrell Robertson
John F. Watts
STAFF: Rick French, County Manager
Jamie Millsaps, Clerk to the Board
David Icenhour, Public Information Director
Luther Stocks, Tax Administrator
Ron McCarthy, Revaluation Staff
Stan Vance, Revaluation Staff


The Alexander County Board of Commissioners held a work session on Tuesday, July 24, 2001 at 6:00 PM in the Agriculture Extension Learning Center in the Administration Building, Taylorsville, North Carolina.


Luther Stocks, Tax Administrator, reviewed the Planning Calendar Activity Descriptions which included the following:

    1. Completed activities included the Planning Phase, Residential Data Collection Training, Commercial and Industrial Data Collection, Neighborhood Identification, Cost Study, Generating of 2002 Values, and Preparation of Appraisal Manual.
    2. Residential Data Collection is 90 % complete. As of July 24, 2001, 12,800 residential parcels have been viewed.
    3. Data Entry Post Data Collection, which is the updating of the appraisal file with changes to property characteristics resulting from field data collections, is 90 % complete. Sally Lackey is staying current with all the data entry.
    4. Preliminary Land Pricing, the process of analyzing sales to determine unit land values for each land segment within individual neighborhoods, is 75 % complete.
    5. Preparation of Field Review Documents, the process of preparing and compiling all review documents and parcel line maps for use in value review, is ongoing.
    6. Training of Residential Reviewers, is 50 % complete with 2 appraisers trained in the review process. Residential Reviewers will instruct appraisal staff in process of final value review for residential properties.
    7. Residential Value Review, an on-site review of each parcel of residential real property to allow for an inventory of all property characteristics, correction of errors or omissions, inspection of new construction and assignment or acceptance of final market value, is 50 % complete.
    8. Commercial and Industrial Value Review, an on-site review of each parcel of commercial, industrial, and exempt real property, is 75 % complete.
    9. Final New Construction and Splits, on site visits to finalize land building values for parcels of real estate with an effective valuation date of January 1, 2002, is scheduled to occur October 2, 2001 through November 23, 2001.
    10. Value Edits and File Clean Up, a series of edits of the appraisal file to allow the appraisal staff to check for the data entry errors, appraisal consistency, proper application of the schedule of values, and preliminary sales analysis of neighborhood groups, is scheduled to occur October 2, 2001 through November 23, 2001.
    11. Data Entry Post New Construction and Edits, is scheduled to occur October 2, 2001 through November 23, 2001. This will be the updated appraisal file with changes to property characteristics and market value posting resulting from new construction, splits, and file edits.
    12. Notices to Taxpayers are scheduled to be mailed November 26, 2001 through December 7, 2001. Notices will include new 2002 values and instructions for the informal appeal process.
    13. Taxpayer Informal Appeals will be scheduled December 10, 2001 through December 21, 2001 via telephone calls. These appeals provide taxpayers the opportunity to discuss their assessed value one-on-one with an appraiser or return the mail-in portion of the assessment notice.
    14. Data Entry Post Appeals is scheduled to occur December 26, 2001 through March 1, 2002. The appraisal file will be updated with changes to property characteristics and market value posting resulting from the informal appeals, field checks, and new construction.
    15. Field Checks and New Construction, an on-site review of individuals properties based on information provided by taxpayers during the informal appeal process and review of building permits issued during November and December 2001, is scheduled to occur February 4, 2002 through March 2, 2002.
    16. Scheduling of Appeals for the Board of Equalization and Review will occur March 4, 2002 through March 29, 2002. This provides taxpayers the opportunity to appeal their assessed value in a formal setting before the Board of Equalization and Review
    17. The Board of Equalization and Review will hear appeals April 1, 2001 through May 10, 2002.

Discussion of Revaluation Cycle

The Board discussed the current 8-year revaluation cycle which is the maximum mandatory cycle set by the State. Commissioner Harbinson inquired about the cycles of surrounding counties. Mr. Stocks and Ron McCarthy informed Commissioner Harbinson that most NC counties were on a 4-year revaluation cycle and stated that some western counties still operated on an 8-year revaluation cycle.

Commissioner Harbinson stated that he would like to set the revaluation cycle to occur during non-election years. Commissioner Watts agreed and stated that the Board had discussed setting the next revaluation to occur in 5 years and then again in 4 years which would begin the 4-year revaluation cycle.

Commissioner Robertson asked if there would be an advantage to holding the next revaluation in 3 years instead of 5 years from now. Mr. McCarthy responded that 3 years would be too soon to hold another revaluation.

Commissioner Watts asked what steps would need to be taken to change the revaluation cycle from and 8-year cycle to a 4-year cycle. Mr. McCarthy responded the Board needed to pass a resolution in favor of the cycle change and then send the resolution to the General Assembly to be passed.

Additional Questions and Comments

Mr. Stocks stated that the expected property value increase for Alexander County was approximately 40 %.

Commissioner Watts asked how many parcels of land were to be appraised in the county. Mr. Stocks responded that there were 22,000 parcels of land in Alexander County. Commissioner Watts also asked how many appeals were expected. Mr. McCarthy responded that staff expected 10 % to 15 % of taxpayers to appeal and explained that normally there are not as many appeals during a shorter revaluation cycle. Commissioner Harbinson agreed stating that there would be less "sticker shock".

Commissioner Hammer asked if minor errors could be resolved without an appeal such as an appraisal notice sent to the wrong property owner. Commissioner Hammer asked if the person would be able to come to the Tax Office and explain that they no longer owned the property without having to appeal. Mr. Stocks stated that they would be able to do so.

Commissioner Harbinson asked if the new GIS system had helped with the revaluation process. Mr. McCarthy responded that the GIS system had been a big help and stated that staff had used the new maps to help identify certain parcels.

Commissioner Hammer inquired about the Board of Equalization and Review members. Mr. Stocks stated that there would be 5 members on the Board of Equalization and Review. Mr. Stocks explained that informal hearings would be scheduled for taxpayers to discuss their values with an appraiser. If there is no conclusion reached at the informal hearing, a formal hearing would be scheduled with the Board of Equalization and Review for taxpayers to appeal their assessed value.

Mr. McCarthy suggested that an appraisal manual be placed at the Administration Office and at the Tax Office. Commissioner Harbinson suggested placing an appraisal manual at the Library. Mr. McCarthy disagreed and explained that the Library staff would not be able to answer questions regarding the information included in the appraisal manuals. Commissioner Harbinson accepted Mr. McCarthy’s comment.

Mr. Stocks also presented a calendar of events for the scheduling of values. A brief discussion was held regarding the calendar and it was decided that the Schedule of Values would be presented to the Board at the August 7, 2001 Commissioners’ Meeting. The public hearing will be held at the September 11, 2001 Commissioners’ Meeting when the Board will consider the Schedule of Values.


Rick French, County Manager, discussed the Governor’s Award which is presented to 5 individuals per county each year for outstanding volunteer services. Mr. French explained that the Cooperative Extension had in the past handled the details of this award. However, Mr. French informed the Board that the State had requested that each NC county pay $20 per recipient of the Governor’s Award and suggested that each commissioner choose a recipient and possibly pay $20 for that recipient. After discussion, the Board agreed each commissioner would choose a recipient and that the $100 could be taken from county funds.

Commissioner Robertson requested a list of past recipients. The Clerk to the Board was instructed to obtain the list for the Board.

Mr. French stated that each commissioner should have a recipient by the August 7, 2001 Commissioners’ Meeting. Commissioner Harbinson stated that he would nominate the Redneck Club at the meeting.


Commissioner Robertson stated that he had visited the site for the new animal shelter on Friday, July 20, 2001 and gave the following suggestions to the Board:

    1. Change the proposed location of the animal shelter from behind the block building to below the maintenance building. This would reduce grading and sewer lines.
    2. Eliminate sidewalks and paving to be completed during Phase II of the project.
    3. Change the fencing system to include galvanized chain-linked fencing and which would also be used between kennels.
    4. Use a regular pre-engineered roof. Take out skylights and put in wall lights.
    5. Eliminate offices at front of the building. This would eliminate more costly light fixtures, floor finishes, and paint.
    6. Change flush valves in kennels to spickets.

Commissioner Robertson stated that this would save approximately $50,000 to $70,000 on the project. Commissioner Harbinson suggested discussing these suggestions with Dr. David Linzey. Commissioner Robertson stated that he had spoken with Dr. Linzey regarding his suggestions.


Mr. French explained that the county’s bookmobile needed to be replaced and explained that Pender County was accepting bids at the end of the month for their bookmobile. After discussion, the Board decided not to bid on the Pender County bookmobile due to its high mileage and poor conditions.


There being no further business, Commissioner Watts made a motion to adjourn at 7:15 PM. Commissioner Robertson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.



  Joel C. Harbinson, Vice-Chairman           Jamie C. Millsaps, Clerk to the Board