The Rutherford County property assessor's office will soon be sending out thousands of tax bills, but they are still working through a major backlog of appeals dating back two years.
Newly elected Rutherford County Property Assessor Rob Mitchell says since 2010, their office took in 744 cases.
“It seemed like a high number to me,” said Mitchell, “So what I did was ask previous assessors what the average numbers were in an average year for them and they said it normally ran between 10 and 12 appeals a year.”
He added, “A lot of that is probably indicative of the downturn of the economy.”
Mitchell told Nashville's News 2 he believes the issue is in the amount of time in between appraisals.
Because property values are only re-evaluated every four years, there is a lot of room for change.
“With the way the appraisal cycles work, the value that is being applied to your taxes today is a value from four years ago,” explained Mitchell, “So if you have a downturn in the middle of the cycle, the market value on your property is definitely going to be diminished, but the appraisals may be coming in from a time that's higher.”
Mitchell said he is encouraging anyone who believes their taxes are inaccurate to appeal.
That's exactly what Jill Johnson did, after she received the tax bill on some newly purchased property last fall.
“The tax notice was over two times what we paid for the property,” said Johnson, “So we were in shock about that. I decided to go through the appeals process to see if I could get that reduced.”
Johnson said she appealed her case to the Rutherford County Board of Equalization, which meets June 1 of every year; for Johnson, it was a success.
“They actually reduced it $50,000 from what they were asking, so we were very pleased with that,” she said.
Mitchell told Nashville's News 2 they are doing the best they can with the system currently in place.
Mitchell also said he would like to move the reappraisal process to once every two years, instead of four, to more accurately reflect the changing market.
“We're all tax payers. We all want to pay for the services that we get but we don't want to overpay,” added Mitchell.
Mitchell said their office is working as fast as they can to resolve the some 300 outstanding claims; they hope to have them negotiated in the next eight months.
Anyone who would like to appeal their tax bill with the Rutherford County Property Assessor, can call 615-898-7750.
Tax notices for Rutherford, Davidson, Williamson, Wilson and Sumner counties will be sent out during the first week of October.
Properties in Rutherford County will be re-assessed in 2014.
Properties in Davidson County will be re-assessed in 2013.
Properties in Williamson County will be re-assessed in 2016.
Properties in Wilson County will be re-assessed in 2016.
Properties in Sumner County will be re-assessed in 2014.