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County’s tax digest drops

By Sherri Ellington With a large number of property value appeals coming in ‘“ and the clock still ticking on the deadline ‘“ the Pike County tax assessors approved a preliminary digest that is so far $9 million under 2011 levels. Another $1 million is expected to come off. The digest now goes to tax commissioner Donna Wynn so she can add mobile homes, vehicles and timber to the total before it goes before the county commissioners for approval. ’A lot of these properties are still under appeal,’ said chief assessor Cindy Foster at the June 29 meeting. ‘As of last night we had all the appeals done. More will come in through Sunday so the digest will be amended. We’ll bring it up at the next meeting to show you what we’ve done.’ Extra exemptions may be on the horizon. Foster went to a class on submission of the state digest and discovered that there are exemptions for disabled veterans, their surviving spouses and minor children. It is retroactive to 2008, since it was part of a stimulus act passed that year. ’The state didn’t even know it,’ Foster said. ‘That’s going to be something to look at after the audit.’ The computer software has already been changed to give the exemptions for 2012, but she expects retroactive exemptions to be filed for the prior three years. ’I don’t know if there will be refunds,’ she said. Assessors also: ’¢ Declared Christ Chapel tax exempt. It joins another 484 tax-exempt parcels on the tax maps, all to be brought up for discussion after the digest work is done. Except for churches, social clubs and organizations may not be eligible for property tax exemption unless their purpose is charitable. ’¢ Approved 148 property tax appeals that changed by less than 30% and 43 with values changed by more than that amount. Ten fair market value revisions were also approved, one real property and nine personal properties. ’¢ Released three Conservation Use Valuation Act exemptions and approved three new CUVAs. One CUVA application was denied. ’¢ Denied a request, which came through the county clerk, to prorate taxes on a property that burned March 5. ‘We have to do what’s right by the law,’ said assessor Robert Marriott. ’¢ Approved a list of property owners’ names whose assessment notices were returned as undeliverable to be posted at the courthouse, in the assessors office and on the assessor’s qPublic website. ’¢ Discussed a pending policy on how to handle sensitive personal information given by taxpayers when they file for exemptions.

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