Property values continue to climb in Fayette County, but the increase has slowed, according to newly appointed Property Valuation Administrator David O'Neill.
The total value of Fayette County's 108,000 properties increased 2.8 percent this year, to $22.34 billion. The average increase during the previous four years was 5.2 percent.
O'Neill's office mailed notices of new valuations to thousands of residential and commercial property owners on Friday.
The value changed on fewer than half of the 30,000 properties that were reassessed this year.
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Of those, 8,200 increased in value, compared to 13,500 in 2008. The median increase in value was $16,800 on properties reassessed this year.
"The main reason tax payers are seeing an increase is their property was last assessed in 2005," O'Neill said.
About 2,400 properties were reduced in value because of foreclosures, sales or reassessment by the PVA's office.
Neighborhoods that saw "a select few decreases" because of high sales prices in 2005 and 2006 were West Wind and Glenn Eagles in the Hamburg area, O'Neill said.
The other major reason for lowered assessments is homestead exemptions. When owners turn 65 or have a disability, they can apply for a $33,700 reduction on the taxable value of their property.
O'Neill's office assesses about a fourth of the county's properties each year.
"The number of properties that sold in the past year is down significantly, but when they do sell, the value is holding pretty steady," O'Neill said.
He called it "very positive" that an important part of people's net worth is holding its own.
Taxpayers may challenge the value the PVA has placed on their property, whether they get a reassessment notice or not. The period for challenging is May 4 to 18.
To launch a challenge, call the PVA's office at (859) 246-2722, visit the office on the sixth floor of the Phoenix Building at 101 East Vine Street or go to www.fayettepva.com.
O'Neill expects to hear from as many as 2,600 taxpayers next month. His office will be open from 8:30 a.m. to noon on the two Saturdays during the challenge period.
Property tax rates are set by various taxing jurisdictions, including the school board, library, local government and the state.
Fayette County properties will generate $200 million in revenue for the government this year.
The Fayette County sheriff's office sends the tax bills and collects the taxes. Tax bills are mailed Oct. 1.
O'Neill was appointed PVA by Gov. Steve Beshear on Feb. 11.
The former Fayette County Democratic Party chairman replaced Renee True, who retired Jan. 1 after 16 years in office.