Ken Joyner has been Mecklenburg County’s Tax Assessor since October 1, 2013. He has hit the ground running, moving forward with managing the reappraisal of Mecklenburg County’s more than 350,000 tax parcels over the next year and a half.
Recently, he answered a few questions about what he does and why he took the job.
What's the Assessor's job?
The assessor is responsible for the valuation of all real and personal property in Mecklenburg County. This includes both residential and commercial real estate, business personal property, individual boats, airplanes, mobile homes, and cars.
What's your background?
I have spent the last 20 years working in or around assessment offices in North Carolina. I started as a property tax appraiser back in 1993 in Harnett County. I have been the assessor in Durham, Onslow, and Chatham counties.
What were you doing prior to this?
For the last six years I have served on the faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, School of Government. As a lecturer, I taught and administered the appraisal and assessment administration training for North Carolina. I also have done significant training for assessors and their staffs in Virginia, Tennessee, Florida, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Idaho.
Why did you want to take on this task?
There were a couple reasons that were important while my family and I made the decision to come to Mecklenburg County. The first is for the professional challenge. The project in front of us will take vision, planning, coordination, and leadership. I believe that I possess the skill set needed to help lead this department through the revaluation review and on into the immediate future.
The second is a more personal reason. As a lifelong public servant, to have the ability to truly make a difference is invaluable. I have an opportunity here to make a difference and really help the County, the citizens, and the office heal. We are at a crossroads here in the Assessor's Office and the decisions we make today are laying the foundation for a bright future.
What will be the biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge is the current project on the revaluation review. Recent state legislation has given the guidance and ability for the County to take a second look at the 2011 Revaluation. Consistent with the new legislation, the County has hired Pearson's Appraisal Services (PAS) to come in and review every parcel in Mecklenburg County. PAS will certify their new valuations for each parcel to the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) in a staggered monthly process by neighborhoods. In October, we took the first neighborhood to the BOCC for their approval. We will be taking neighborhoods to the BOCC each month until the project is complete.
After the BOCC accepts the PAS recommended values, we will be notifying our citizens and providing them with their rights within the review process. If a citizen has no objections and accepts the PAS recommendation no action is required on their part. If their value is lowered as a part of the review, the parcel will be eligible for a refund. If the value is increased they will be receiving a bill for the additional amount due over and above their original payment amount.
How long will it take?
PAS expects to be complete with the project by the end of February 2015.This will include all field work and data entry dealing with the neighborhood review. I would expect that appeals coming from the review would still continue beyond that date.
When will folks begin to receive refunds?
For the first neighborhood completed, we have mailed the notice of value to the owners and if no objection/appeal is initiated by them, they could see refunds around the first of the year 2014.Going forward, refunds will be approximately two months after the date of the notice of value, again when no objection is filed.
What do you want folks to know?
They need to be looking for changes at the County Assessor's Office. We expect to rollout an improved Web presence in the coming months. We are going back to the basics in our processes to review and make sure that we are doing our work in the most efficient manner.
And lastly, and most importantly, I want everyone to know that we will be a leader in Mecklenburg County in customer service. There were major deficiencies in the planning and coordinating of the last revaluation. But I have met many hardworking and dedicated Mecklenburg County Assessor's Office team members who are just as committed and enthusiastic about customer service as I am. They are what excites me about the future here in Mecklenburg County. Together we will have an office that our citizens will be proud of in the not-so-distant future.
Where do you go with questions?
For questions dealing with the Revaluation Review Process, call 704-432-7250.For all other questions dealing with the County Assessor's Office, call our Account Services Department at 704-336-6348.