At least two properties in Carroll County had a 500 percent tax increase but the errors were caught by the Carroll County Board of Assessors.
James Fulford of the BOA board and Renee Parmer, chief appraiser for the county, said that in situations like that it is important to have someone who is familiar with the county when making property assessments and all the more reason for the Carroll County Board of Commissioners budget for such a position
“We caught the (mistake) before it got too far out there but right up on the 27-113 corridor, GMASS had that bulk of appraising done a little different,” said Fulford. “Well they hit everybody for a substantial increase and I don't mean 100 percent, I mean like 500 percent. Well thankfully, we had two taxpayers call and they caught it and she was fortunate enough, she caught it and we sent new notices to those taxpayers. But it's because they didn't understand that corridor or they just they attached it to all properties with that designation.”
GMASS is the company the county contracted with in 2016 to help with the first countywide reassessment in several years.
Parmer says she expects to have reassessment hearings carry over into the new year.
“We do assessment notices in May and June so we're already into the 2018 tax year now at this point,” Parmer said. “We don't have anybody there except for me to answer the questions or anything … Well, the contract’s gone with GMASS, so if I have hearings that are going to move over into January. Then it's going be left up to me to defend that value.”
Meanwhile, the consent order from the Department of Revenue has been finalized and closed now that the county has shown it is doing what it is supposed to do in regards to taxes. The order was the result of properties not being reviewed for an extended period of time.
“I would say at this time everything's on track,” said Fulford. “Our residential staff, they're doing what they're supposed to be doing. But right now, because we don't have a qualified agent (for commercial properties), we're asking for GMASS only because we believe it's going to take time to either find that qualified person or train them up.”
Fulford said that the department is handling a heavy load as it is and that Parmer has had to take on additional responsibilities.
“What we're trying not to do is make the department any more stressed than it is because right now she (Parmer) has to field any call related to a commercial property and she doesn't have all the answers and we have to defer to GMASS,” said Fulford. “Right now, it's it's put us in a quandary because (GMASS) will be gone and we'll have to start paying a sizable sum money to get them back in here. ... GMASS is a short-term solution and the long-term solution is the on-staff employee.”
Carroll County Board of Commissioners Chairman Marty Smith said he recommends going with the option of hiring an additional staff member.
“We don't want any type of letters coming from the Department of Revenue and getting behind the eight-ball,” said Smith.