Property value hikes vary

Published 6:12 pm Tuesday, April 23, 2019

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

The Town of Windsor experienced the largest overall increase in residential property reassessment values throughout Isle of Wight County, according to Isle of Wight Commissioner of Revenue Gwaltney.

Single-family homes within the town limits went up an average of 11 percent overall, compared to 2 percent in the Town of Smithfield, according to Gwaltney, who provided the Board of Supervisors with an overview of the reassessment results at a Thursday work session. 

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Windsor Town Manager Michael Stallings said the town has had some new houses go up on existing lots, but no new major subdivisions. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

Homes in the Windsor magisterial district, which includes the area south of the town, went up an average of 7 percent, followed by the Newport area at 6 percent and Hardy at 5 percent. 

The three magisterial districts are not the same as the county’s five voting districts. 

Townhouses and condominiums in the Town of Smithfield, however, jumped an average of 16 percent from the last reassessment. 

Gwaltney mentioned one condominium development, The Villas, where values went up 18 percent overall — and were the direct result of recent sales. 

The assessors defined 160 neighborhoods in the county, and looked at sales in those neighborhoods within a 10-12 month period, Gwaltney said. 

Agricultural property in the Windsor magisterial district also increased more than the rest of the county, at 16 percent, compared to 2 percent in Hardy and 4 percent in Newport. 

Gwaltney said most agricultural land in Isle of Wight is under the land use program, and reassessment value changes do not directly affect those properties. However, Virginia Tech, which sets values annually, is planning to increase values of land values for that program and landowners will be notified, said Gwaltney. 

Windsor District Supervisor Joel Acree said at a recent work session that he had heard a rumor that the county was planning to do away with the land use program. That rumor has turned out to be just that — a rumor that had its origins in a casual conversation among a group of residents. Isle of Wight County staff was unaware of such a plan. 

Land use valuation was established in Virginia in 1972 and allows eligible land to be taxed on its use rather than its fair market value, according to Virginia Tech. Fair market value is the price property will bring when offered for sale, while use value is based on the use being made of it, such as growing crops. It also includes estimated earnings derived from the property. 

Other properties, such as houses, are reassessed at fair market value. 

Overall, property values in Isle of Wight went up an average of 4 percent and represented nearly 21,000 parcels. Residential properties went up an average of 5 percent, multi-family up 1 percent, commercial up 2 percent and agriculture up 5 percent. 

Despite the fervor generated by this year’s reassessment, the county experienced more appeals in 2015, when values remained flat, said Gwaltney. 

In 2015, there were 500 administrative appeals, compared to 451 this year, aid Gwaltney. 

Property owners have three ways to challenge a reassessment valuation — through an administrative appeal, going to the Board of Equalization or going to Circuit Court. 

The administrative appeal period ended Friday, while the Board of Equalization meets from July 1 though June 30, 2020. Property owners can also go directly to Isle of Wight Circuit Court. 

After the last reassessment, only one property owner took its case to circuit court and it was a corporation, said Gwaltney. 

The appeal, filed by International Paper, was dismissed. 


Not us, says McCarty

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors Chairman William McCarty appeared concerned that residents may believe the Board has a direct hand in the reassessment process.

McCarty brought up the issue for a second time during a recent work session.

McCarty gave an example of the notion that the Board views the reassessment rates before they are released. 

Isle of Wight Commissioner of Revenue Gerald Gwaltney said the last thing the Board needs is to be involved in the reassessment.

Virginia state law mandates property reassessments, and the Board’s only role is to approve the third party assessor, said Gwaltney. 

In this case, Isle of Wight uses Wampler-Eanes Appraisal Group of Danville, a company it has used for more than 10 years. Gwaltney’s office is responsible for facilitating the process. 

The Board is not involved in setting values, nor does it ask that raise values to a certain amount to achieve various goals, he said.  {/mprestriction}



“It’s completely independent,” said Gwaltney.