Fayette County

If you want to contest property value, do it now

With a depressed economy, relatively few residential properties in Fayette County had increased assessments this year, said David O'Neill, property valuation administrator.

However, any property owner who wants to dispute a reassessment may arrange a conference with the PVA office starting Monday and continuing through May 17.

Conferences may be scheduled from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Saturday in the PVA office on the sixth floor of the Phoenix Building, 101 East Vine Street.

"We will share all the information on how we arrived at the assessment," O'Neill said. "It's a chance for people to share information about their property with us if they think the reassessment is not fair."

Generally, once the PVA staff "shows a property owner that logic went into their reassessment, they're understanding," he said. For the vast majority of cases, "the reassessment is based on property sales in your neighborhood."

When assessments are not increased, the main reason is there was a lack of supporting sales, O'Neill said.

A PVA conference is required by state law before an assessment may be appealed to the Fayette County Clerk. The clerk then will schedule a hearing with the Local Board of Tax Appeals. The deadline for filing an appeal is May 18.

Throughout the county, about 35,000 of the total 108,608 parcels on the tax rolls were inspected by the PVA, starting in September. "We are required to inspect every parcel every four years," O'Neill said.

Reassessment notices were mailed in early April.

About 15,000 parcels changed value, most of these a result of the property being sold or some type of change or improvement made that required a building permit.

Of the 350 neighborhoods the PVA uses for assessment purposes, assessments were lowered in six neighborhoods. O'Neill said most of those were new neighborhoods where property was selling "for very high prices at the height of the housing market," and prices have not held up in the past year to 18 months.

"There were no neighborhoods where we reassessed upward," he said.

The total assessed valuation of all the property in Fayette County totaled a little more than $22 billion in 2009, an increase of about 0.5 percent. "In a robust economy, the increase would be more along the line of 6 to 7 percent annually," O'Neill said.

"The reason there was any increase is improvements people did to their property, and some increase due to sales."

The number of properties sold in 2009 was down about 25 percent from 2008. The median sale price of residential property was down 1 percent to 2 percent.