Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Editorials

January 18, 2014

Property values: February forums set in Mercer

— — Let’s face it. No one likes paying taxes. And when our personal property tax bills go up it can make for an even greater frustration. The financial challenge can be very difficult for those who are low income, elderly or disabled. That’s why property owners in Mercer County should take note of the upcoming board of review and equalization schedule.

The county commission agreed Tuesday to schedule six forums next month for those county residents who may wish to address or appeal changes in their property rates. The equalization schedule is every year but property assessments are only done every three years, according to County Commission President Mike Vinciguerra.

Some property owners in Mercer County may see an increase in their assessed values this year, according to Todd Kendall, chief office deputy for Mercer County Assessor Sharon Gearheart.

“We can expect to see some increase in assessed values this year,” Kendall said Tuesday. “We usually see some increase each year. It just depends. Some people may see a decrease which is rare but possible.”

In an effort to provide an appropriate forum to those citizens who may have questions or a desire to appeal their reassessment rate, the board of review and equalization will hold public meetings on February 3 at 10 a.m., February 7 at 10 a.m., February 12 at 11 a.m., February 18 at 10 a.m., February 21 at 10 a.m. and February 27 at 10 a.m.

The aforementioned dates would be the time to question or appeal any property value assessments. Residents with questions or concerns should plan on attending one of the scheduled forums. Don’t wait until after the meetings have concluded to question or seek an appeal of a property value ruling.

Those who have made recent improvements or additions to their homes can probably expect to see a change in their property values. But others may not see significant changes in their property values. And while generally speaking, increased property values can be viewed as a positive sign of growth and strength for individual neighborhoods, towns and cities, higher tax bills can still create a difficult financial burden on some families who are unprepared for an increase in property rates.

Times are still tough. We understand that. And many across our region are still struggling to make financial ends meet month by month. That’s why those who may have concerns about their assessed property value rates should take advantage of the board of equalization forums slated in February.

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