In a report in the Stafford Sun by Jennifer Buske, Stafford's Commissioner of the Revenue, Scott Mayausky, sites that there has been a decrease in real estate assessments for the first time in 12 years and the county expects to see a decrease in revenue from real estate tax of about 4.5%.
"The economy is not that great," Mayausky said, adding that the average assessment of Stafford County home is about $327,000, compared to $390,000 in 2006.
Reassessments of approximately 48,500 properties in Stafford county will be generated mid to end of February. These reassessments may reflect negative changes by as much as 15 to 20 percent. It is important to note that while many may see a decrease, some may actually see an increase.
To determine property values, the county sends five assessors out to visit about 10 percent of Stafford's residential and commercial properties, Mayausky said. The process stretches over two years, beginning the moment after one cycle is complete.
Stafford residents may appeal their reassessment notices using this form no later than March 31, 2008 (county web site still shows last year's form with a date of March 15, 2007) or by calling 540-658-4125. According to the Commissioner of the Revenue's office, the new appeals form will not be available online until assessments are completed and mailed out which may not be until late February or early March.
The reassessments are not an accurate reflection of your tax bill. The tax rate will likely increase somewhat to make up for some of the loss in revenue that a budget adjustment cannot achieve alone. The real estate tax is currently set at $.70 per $100 assessed value. The County Board of Supervisors set the personal and real estate tax, not the county commissioner.
The new tax rate will be set in April with tax bills going out in May and due June 5th. The bill will reflect the 1st half taxes due with another subsequent billing for the 2nd half sent later in October/November and due December 5th.