A reassessment is the process by which the assessed value of real estate property is revised to keep the value consistent with what the property is worth on the open market and to assess properties fairly in comparison with each other.
Property assessments are intended to reflect market values at the time of reassessment. Between reassessment periods market values change. The value changes may happen for a variety of reasons: appreciation and value declines (i.e., equalization changes); structural changes (additions, remodeling); re-zonings, and land divisions (i.e., growth). A combination of these factors can apply to the same property. Reassessments are intended to restore equity within the county so that values are at a uniform percentage of market value.
The last reassessment in Monroe County took place in 1989, twenty-seven years ago. Because of property value fluctuations within areas of the county and the thousands of assessment appeal hearings that have been heard, similar properties, even those in the same neighborhood, have widely varying assessed values resulting in inconsistent taxes.
On June 1, 2016 the County Commissioners sitting as the Board of Assessment Review, voted to move forward with the reassessment project. A firm will be selected by the end of July 2016 to conduct the reassessment. It appears that the reassessment will be completed in time for the new assessed values to be used to produce tax bills in January 2019.
The County Commissioners will hire and oversee an outside firm to handle the reassessment. The entire process can take two years or more and requires that a certified assessor visit and assess every parcel in the county, of which there are more than 100,000. Performing this task in-house would require additional full time staff whose services would not be required once the reassessment is finished.
A residential property value is determined by collecting the characteristics of each property and comparing these characteristics to similar properties in comparable locations that have recently sold. Adjustments for differences in properties are then made to arrive at a market value for the property. For commercial and industrial property, rental income and expenses are also considered in the valuation process.
For residences, information such as location, lot size, topography, zoning, square footage, style, grade of construction, condition, number of bathrooms, garage size and type, number of rooms, basement type, year built, effective age, porches, decks, pools, other improvements and view. Commercial and industrial properties may also consider building height, type of construction, loading docks, sprinkling systems, etc.
Until the reassessment is nearly complete, it is impossible to determine how the taxes on an individual parcel will be affected. Typically, taxes on about one-third of the parcels will increase; another one-third of the parcels will see taxes decrease, and taxes on the remaining one-third will stay the same.
If the assessed value of your property increases, this is still no guarantee that your taxes will increase. All three of the taxing authorities (school, municipal, and county) are limited in the amount of additional tax they can collect in the year following a reassessment. If the value of all previously assessed property in a given municipality increases, the taxing authorities will be required to adjust their millage rates downward. Taxes due are determined by multiplying the millage rates by the assessed value.