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2003 News from Mecklenburg County

January 14, 2003


Charlotte, NC - On Friday, January 17, 2003, Mecklenburg County will begin notifying owners of residential property of their new assessed values.  The notices will be mailed and should arrive the week of January 20.  Owners of other types of property, such as multi-family residences and commercial properties, will receive their notices during the next 60 days.

Mecklenburg County's Office of Property Assessment and Land Records Management has spent much of the past several years appraising and analyzing all property, adjusting assessed values to current market values. The purpose of revaluation is to create a real estate tax base and ensure that all taxpayers are paying their fair share of the tax burden.

Of the 207,000 single-family parcels in Mecklenburg County, just over half of them saw their assessed value increase anywhere from 1percent to 20 percent.

· Total properties with a decreasing assessed value:      2 percent.
· Total properties with an increasing assessed value between 0 - 20percent: 56 percent.
· Total properties with an increasing assessed value between 21 - 40 percent:  24 percent.
· Total properties with an increasing assessed value between 41 - 60 percent:  15 percent.
· Total properties with an increasing assessed value of 61 percent or more:   2 percent.

The wide range indicates that different properties are changing values at different rates.  That's why an average increase of value for the County would not show a complete picture.  Any property owner who believes their assessed value is too high can begin the appeals process by filling out the "Request for Informal Review" form attached to their notice and mailing it to the address listed on the form.  Owners are asked to explain on the request why their property is not worth the stated assessed value.

"It's important for property owners to understand that we don't create market value," says John Petoskey, director of Property Assessment and Land Records Management.  "We assess each property based on the market value of that property, using similar property sales for comparison.  The new assessments should reflect what each property is worth on the open market."

The new assessed values and other real estate data will also be available online at beginning January 18, utilizing the County's new tax and GIS real estate Web applications.   The Web sites have been retooled and redesigned to display maps, real estate information and tax data in a clear, easy-to-use format.  The two sites are among Mecklenburg County's most popular - widely utilized by real estate agents, appraisers, developers, taxpayers and others to find information about property and assessed value.

POLARIS, or Property Ownership Land Records Information System, uses GIS mapping technology to create detailed maps of property and display information such as property boundaries, school assignments, floodplains, and more.  GIS - or Geographic Information Systems - is the process of using computer technology and aerial mapping to create a wide variety of mapping tools.

POLARIS was redesigned with input from a variety of users, such as real estate agents, paralegals, developers and County staff.  It offers many improved features, such as larger maps, increased map quality, and 34 layers of data.  Users can also drag a box on a map and instantly zoom into an area of interest. Property is searchable by address, owner, parcel ID, road name, and even interstate exit.  Information is displayed in a very user-friendly format, with the map and data all on one page. Data include parcel ownership information, address, legal description, municipality, building information, building photographs, etc.  There are also links to voting information, park locations and detailed driving directions.

The New Real Estate Lookup application works in conjunction with POLARIS.  It is administered by Mecklenburg County's Office of Property Assessment and Land Records Management. Real Estate Lookup provides information on assessed value, sales price, digital photographs of many properties, tax payment history, and much more.

"Though the data is public information, the Internet has leveled the playing field for those seeking it," says Jerry Pinkard, director of Mecklenburg County Information Services and Technology.  "Just a few years ago, this information was stored in various County offices and took a lot of time to look up.  Now anyone with access to the Internet has easy access to this information."

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