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New land rolls show property value increase

The value of property in Lincoln County increased throughout2008, despite a sputtering national economy that has dropped theworth of homes and businesses in many other places around thecountry.

According to the newly compiled 2009 county land rolls, the truevalue of all county property appraised in 2008 is approximately$1.5 billion, compared to slightly more than $1 billion in 2007.This year’s true value assessment will be more than $140 million,while last year’s was assessed at more than $126.

From 2008 to 2009, true value increased by more than $114million, while assessed values increased $13.5 million – a sign ofgrowth in an otherwise dreary economic time.

“When you pass by and you see a new structure going up, you knowthat’s new value added to your county,” said Lincoln County TaxAssessor/Collector Nancy Jordan.

Part of the county’s increased value came from new homeconstruction. Tax office records show 106 new homes were built inLincoln County throughout 2008.

County appraiser Leon Perry said the number of new homesconstructed in 2007 – before the beginning of economic turmoil -was 118, meaning only 12 fewer homes were built in 2008, one of theworst years for the national housing market ever.

“Where you see your economy is in your sales,” Perry said. “Theconstruction is there – older, used homes are just moving like theyused to. But it’s starting to come back.”

Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce Executive VicePresident Cliff Brumfield said the increased value was good newsfor Lincoln County, though not unexpected. He reiterated thatLincoln County has weathered the national recession better thanother areas.

“People need to remember that the areas that experienced theextreme highs of exponential growth also experienced the lowestlow. The rural southeast, typically, remains fairly consistentyear-to-year,” he said. “Although we’ve felt a bit of the pinchlocally, we certainly haven’t seen any negatives to the degreesthat other areas have.”

Brumfield was impressed with the number of new home constructionreported by the tax office, saying Lincoln County would likely”stay the course.”

“Not to say that certain sectors of our economy are notexperiencing a downturn, but we are seeing our real estate marketremain firm,” he said. “It just shows the consistency in our marketas expected. I certainly hope this will continue and improve nextyear.”

While property values are up this year, county residents whodisagree with their property’s listed worth may still attempt tobring them down. County residents and business owners have threeweeks remaining to inspect their property values before thecalculations that will determine property taxes are made.

The land rolls are open for public inspection in the boardroomof the Lincoln County-Brookhaven Government Complex from 8 a.m. to5 p.m. weekdays. The big blue books contain more than 6,300 pagesof property assessments for every home, parcel and piece ofequipment within county borders, appraised from January 2008 toDecember 2008.

The assessments are based on county tax officials’ appraisals,and will multiplied by the county millage rate – which will bedetermined alongside the fiscal year 2010 county budget before Oct.1 – to determine property taxes.

“It’s (the public’s) responsibility to see what we have itassessed for and make sure it’s assessed properly,” Jordansaid.

Jordan said anyone who disagrees with his or her property’sassessed value may file an objection with the tax office.

If the issue can’t be solved there, a hearing with the LincolnCounty Board of Supervisors will be scheduled for August, she said.Objections are a regular process for annually shaping the landroll.