Real property tax assessments rose by an average of 3.4% in Albemarle County for 2020.
County Assessor Peter Lynch presented details of this year’s reassessments to the Board of Supervisors on Wednesday.
“I would like to stress that this is just an overall average for the county,” Lynch said. “There are very few, probably a handful of homeowners, who would actually have a 3.4% increase on the property.”
The county will mail assessment notices on Jan. 24.
The town of Scottsville saw the largest increase in tax value, with assessments increasing by an average of 6.1%.
Assessments on properties in the Jack Jouett and Rio districts increased by an average of 2.6%.The Scottsville district had an average increase of 4.1%, the Rivanna District had an average increase of 4.5% and the Samuel Miller District had an increase of 3.5%.
Residential properties in the county’s urban areas increased by an average of 2.8%, regardless of which district they lie in, while residential parcels up to 20 acres increased by 4.1%. Rural properties from 20 to 99.99 acres increased by an average of 5.4%. Rural properties larger than 100 acres increased by an average of 5.6%.
Commercial property assessments increased by an average of 2% and multi-family properties increased by 5.5%.
There are 46,258 taxable land parcels in the county, and 34,553 of those are single-family residential. Of those, 72.4% percent saw an increase of between zero and 10 percent, and 11.7% saw an increase of more than 10 percent.
About 15.3% percent of single-family residential properties saw a decrease of up to 10 percent, while 0.5% saw a decrease of more than 10 percent.
Lynch said that in 2018 it was determined that oversight of the land use program was not adequate and a new position was added in July. The county’s land use program lowers the real estate tax rate for land in agricultural, horticultural, forest or open-space use.
Since the position was added, the county has corrected over $60 million in deferred assessments.
“We were qualifying areas with tennis courts,” Lynch said. “We even had a property with a go kart track. These are not qualifying land uses, but it was never paid attention to closely enough.”
He said they try to give property owners a chance to remedy the situation and continue under the program, but sometimes there is no way for the property to qualify.
Over the last two years, the assessor’s office reduced the number of neighborhoods from 527 to 370, which allows the department to more efficiently analyze sales of properties and apply the data to all the properties in that area.
“It also stops having a five- or 10-parcel neighborhood that doesn’t change over 10 years and then suddenly we get one sale in that neighborhood, and then it goes up 50%,” Lynch said.
State law requires that localities assess properties objectively and at 100 percent of their fair market value. The county will send out real estate tax bills in late April. The current real estate tax rate in Albemarle County is 85.4 cents per $100 of assessed value, but that could be changed by the Board of Supervisors.
Property owners who want their assessment reviewed may call the assessor’s office to confirm the property description. Property owners also may request a review from the assessor’s office, which must be submitted by Feb. 28.
Another option for property owners is to request a Board of Equalization appeal, which must be submitted by March 30 or within 30 days of the date of the letter response from the review from the assessor’s office, whichever is later.