Assessments see small increase

Published 9:18 pm Thursday, March 21, 2019

The assessed value of properties in Suffolk rose by just over 2 percent this year including new construction, the city assessor told the City Council during a work session Wednesday.

The city has seen small, steady growth in the city-wide assessed value of property since 2014-2015, with growth rates ranging from 1.13 percent in 2016-2017 to 3.11 percent last year and 2.09 percent this year, according to the report from City Assessor Jean Jackson.

“That includes new construction as well as reassessments,” Jackson said.

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Jackson said the totals include whatever new construction she has on the books on Jan. 1.

“As we have discussed in the past, I have new construction out there that should have been, or was completed on Jan. 1 but they are not on the books yet because of resource issues,” Jackson said.

“Meaning, you don’t have enough staff to get it all done,” Councilman Don Goldberg said.

Jackson said a lot of miscellaneous permits are not getting picked up as quickly as they should because they don’t have as much dollar value as new construction.

“With a growing city as fast as this one is growing, and the number of new construction and the fact that we have to do reassessments on top of the new construction, the new construction is taking priority,” Jackson said.

She said the projection is that new construction will continue to grow for at least another year or two.

Residential properties provide nearly 75 percent of the total property value in the city, with multi-family and commercial properties more than 21 percent and agricultural properties at about 4 percent.

The city saw an increase in the total number of taxable properties, from 39,311 to 39,552, while another 1,814 properties are classified as exempt.

Jackson said property transfers — those at or above $1,000 — fell to 2,187 in 2018, down from 2,771 the previous year, while foreclosures also declined, from 204 to 199 from 2017 to 2018.

“If you notice a slight decrease in the number of overall transfers from 2017 to 2018, some of that is related to the slowing down of some of the new construction completion due to the fact of excessive rain,” Jackson said.

A change in reporting requirements from the state meant a drop in qualified transfers of property from 1,175 in 2017 to 876 last year. The 2017 total includes 365 new construction transfers; in 2018, the state changed the requirement that localities do not have to include new construction transfers.

The median qualified transfer price was $255,000 in 2018, down $10,000 from the previous year, according to Jackson’s report.

If someone has a question about their reassessment, that person can call her office at 514-7475. She said the appraiser’s response time is usually about two days in most cases, but sometimes it can take longer to get to the bottom of an issue.

Proposed reassessment notices will be sent out April 2, with informal hearings scheduled for April 8. Jackson said residents can usually address their concerns in the informal hearing process.

The Board of Equalization application deadline is May 1, with those hearings starting on May 6 and ending May 31.