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County completes property reappraisal

An appraisal company assisting Crawford County has finished the three-year cycle of reappraising properties county-wide.

Arkansas CAMA Technology provides on-site walk-arounds and uses high definition photos from flyover services to reassess properties for Crawford County Assessor Ronnie Dale.

State law requires county officials to reassess properties every three years.

With the completion of the cycle, the new appraised values will be used to determine the assessed values for 2013 tax purposes, Dale said.

Daniel Berry, appraiser manager with Arkansas CAMA, gave a presentation to Crawford County Quorum Court members Monday night, warning that some owners might see their appraisals go down but their taxes go up.

When asked about this in a later interview, Berry said its all about tax caps and a slower economy.

In Arkansas, a law was put in place in 2002 to cap the percentage a taxable assessed value can raise each year.

Full assessed values are 20 percent of full market value. Because of the law, taxable assessed values - set in 2002 - can only go up 5 percent each year for primary residencies and 10 percent for other properties, no matter how much a property increases in market value.

“Which is fine until that assessed value starts to come back down,” Berry said. “Then they forget they’re not paying on the full value. They’re still paying less because of that legislation.”

That law was put in place to help property owners better manage their taxes, but it can be confusing, Berry said.

“I’ve been doing this for 15 years and I still have to think about it,” Berry said.

What has been happening in recent years, with the decline and then slow growth of the economy, is that in some cases assessed values are actually decreasing from previous years. But because the owner has not been paying taxes on the full market value, his taxes may still increase.

That owner still is likely paying less than he would on full market or full assessed value, Berry said.

For 2013, the total county full assessed value is about $503 million, Berry said. The taxable assessed value is about $496 million, very close to the full value, he said.

At the CCQC meeting, Berry told Justices of the Peace that he expects money raised by property taxes in the county to level off next year.

Both Dale and Berry said things owners can do to decrease their tax bill.

Those whose property is their primary place of residence can sign up for the homestead tax exemption, which gives them a discount of $350, Dale said. Residents 65 or older or disabled and can provide proof can have their assessed value frozen, he said.

Dale added that there also ways to appeal the new valuations.

“If they have a problem with the new values, get in touch with Arkansas CAMA,” Dale said. “If they can’t solve it, get in touch with the county clerk’s office and set up an appointment to go to the equalization board.”

Arkansas CAMA provides an informal appeals process. The Crawford County Equalization Board holds formal hearings to determine if a property has been overvalued. The deadline to sign up for a hearing is Aug. 19, Dale said.

“The state gives the equalization board a broader authority to adjust values than they do me,” he said.

Still, Dale said he is available to help anyone who needs it.

“If they feel like they need to talk to me, I have an open door policy. If there’s anything I can do to help, that’s what I’m here for,” Dale said.

To learn more about Arkansas CAMA, go to www.arcamatech.com. To access online real estate and personal property assessment records, go to www.actdatascout.com and do a parcel search.

Property taxes for 2012 are due now and will be delinquent after Oct. 15.

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