DeKalb County Making Change to Continuous Five Year Reappraisal Cycle

March 30, 2011
Dwayne Page
Timothy Fud Banks

For the last several years, DeKalb County has been on a general six year reappraisal cycle for updating and equalizing property values for property tax purposes. But that will change to a five year cycle as of July 1st under action taken by the county commission Monday night.

Assessor of Property Timothy Fud Banks made the request saying that by going to a five year reappraisal cycle, the county would no longer need to undergo a current value update every three years. "I'd like to move our reappraisals from a six year to a five year appraisal. That would cut out the CVU on the third year. That will save the county some money. We have to pay for the cards and everything. To pass it, the board (county commission) will have to vote on it to go to a five year, instead of a six year reappraisal. We've been in the six year reappraisal for probably over thirty years now. Instead of reviewing a fifth of the county like we've been doing every year, we'll be reviewing a fourth of the county. We have to get it done before the reappraisal comes up the next year. We'll have more parcels to review every year now (by going to five years) but we'll get done a year earlier. During the second and the fourth year they (state) will see how off we are (on appraisals) and if the percentage comes up at less than 90%, they will adjust the personal property that you pay on it to make up for what comes in. That would adjust what the county takes in," said Banks.

County Mayor Mike Foster added "part of the reason for this (change to five years) is because of what happened two years ago, when they did a current value update. They (state) said that the land was bringing more than what it was appraised at by about 20%. So they came in and we had to go through reappraisal and juggle tax rates and all that. Now the economy has changed so while they upgraded it two years ago to that higher 20% bracket, this year we're taking a fall and will have to go back. What we think right now is that the overall appraisal is being lowered by $18 million in housing and land. Some land (appraisals) actually went up but most of it went down. This (changing to five years) would stabilize it to where we wouldn't have the current value updates in the middle of it. We would just have a reappraisal every five years. That way we wouldn't be involved in the reappraisal every six years and then have the current value update every third year," said Foster.

The six year cycle consists of five years of comprehensive on-site review of every parcel of property in the county, followed by revaluation of all property in the sixth year. During each of those first five years, approximately 20% of the parcels in the county are inspected for changes to the land or buildings that would influence the value of the property. Quarterly progress reports are provided to the State of Tennessee's Division of Property Assessments, whose personnel also periodically monitor the progress and results of the on-site review process.

After the first three years (the mid point of the cycle), an in-depth statistical analysis is performed comparing sales prices to appraisals. If the county's overall level of appraisal has fallen to below 90% of fair market value, property values are updated county-wide by what is known as a Current Value Update or CVU. In addition, even if the level of overall appraisal has not fallen below the 90% threshold, any subclass of properties (residential, farm, commercial, etc.) that is found to be more than 10% below the county's overall ratio must have its values raised to reflect that overall county level.

In the sixth and final year of the cycle, a thorough analysis of the current real estate market is used to establish new land and building values. The changes in values are then applied to each property in the county and those property owners whose values have either increased or decreased as a result are notified as to the new appraisal of their properties. Also during this sixth year, the complete plan of reappraisal for the next six year period has to be developed and submitted for approval. The cycle then begins all over again.

Under the continuous five year cycle, an on-site review of each real property would occur over a four year period followed by revaluation of all such property in the year following completion of the review period.

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