McDowell Commission agrees to four-year reval cycle

McDowell County will now go to a four-year cycle for revaluations which means that the next one will happen in 2023.

During the regular meeting on Monday, the McDowell County Board of Commissioners heard an update from Assessor Tammy Wylie and consultant Tim Cain about this year’s revaluation and what is ahead for the future.

Counties in North Carolina are required by law to hold a revaluation of all real properties at least once every eight years. But the majority of counties in the state are moving away from the eight-year cycle and doing revaluations every six years or every four years, said County Manager Ashley Wooten.

This is mostly due to the “sticker shock” property owners and taxpayers encounter when they get their new values after a period of eight years from the last one. County officials have previously considered having McDowell do a different cycle.

Cain submitted a proposal to do additional work for the next revaluation as well as follow up to the work that was completed for this year’s. Cain is McDowell’s revaluation coordinator and the outside consultant for the process. He is with the company Assessment Solutions of N.C. and had previously worked on revaluations for such North Carolina counties as Martin, Wilson and Bladen.

Cain submitted a cost of $523,000, or $17 per parcel, for the additional work ahead for the next reval. Wooten said this is less than what other counties would have to pay. The average for other similar projects in the state is $28 per parcel, according to information from county officials.

This work would involve significant field work and would help the county transition to a four-year revaluation cycle, Wooten added.

After hearing from Cain and Wylie, the commissioners agreed unanimously to accept the proposal and go to a four-year cycle.

In other business, the commissioners talked about a change in the county’s subdivision ordinance.

The county Planning Board voted unanimously at their June meeting to send a recommendation for changing the subdivision ordinance. The Planning Board’s recommendation is to change the numbers that constitute a major and minor subdivision in McDowell County.

At this time, a minor subdivision is considered to be between three to 20 lots and all minor subdivision review is conducted by county staff. A major subdivision is 21 lots and greater, and requires approval from the Planning Board.

The proposed change is a minor subdivision would be between two to 10 lots and a major subdivisions would be 11 lots or greater. The Planning Board recommended that review fees for minor subdivisions be $10 per lot and the review fee for major subdivisions would be a flat $400.

The commissioners did not take formal action regarding this change because a public hearing will have to take place at the regular August meeting.

In other business, the McDowell County Commissioners:

• Heard an update about the third phase of the Catawba River greenway project. The contractor should be complete with this work by the end of this month. “It’s looking really good,” said the county manager.

• Heard another update about the proposed shooting range for McDowell. Several weeks ago, county officials heard again from N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission about the project but no definite word about when it will be built. “It is clear that discussions are underway, but we are still not close to starting construction,” said Wooten to the commissioners.

• Talked about planning for the county’s water system. Several years ago, county officials put the Lake James water intake project on hold due to grant funding deadlines with Environmental Protection Agency. Wooten said he and other county officials would like to start working on it again now that Stacy Hill Road water project is completed. County staff will start meeting with McGill Associates soon to resume the Lake James water intake and move it forward. The county will also move forward with future waterline extensions in the Nebo community. The 2019-2020 county budget has money set aside for both the water intake permitting and future water extension planning.

• Approved a change in the county’s policy regarding financial monitoring. They also reviewed the pay plan for county employees and approved it as well as a water system leak adjustment and EMS account write-offs.

• Appointed Bill Bach to the McDowell Technical Community College board of trustees and reappointed Tommy Stamey to the county Planning Board. Larry Lytle was named to the Jury Commission.

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