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Last revised 03/25/09 - When it comes to real estate reassessing and taxation, the citizens of Hanover County, VA are getting the shaft.


If you don't mind paying an unfair share of real estate taxes, then stop reading.  This isn't for you.  
But if you don't like writing a big check to the county twice a year (or to your mortgage company thru escrow), then read on...
 NEW!!!  3/25/09 If you were reassessed this year, here is how you are grouped in "neighborhoods" and this shows how many sales there were in 2007 and 2008.    This document is the key to knowing which neighborhoods consist of which parcels or subdivisions.   Some "neighborhoods" are stand alones and some "neighborhoods" are three or four subdivisions grouped together like, for example, neighborhood "140700" consists of Forest lake Hills, Knollwood and Pearsons Corner subdivisions which are combined into one "neighborhood" with 305 parcels.   This information was provided to us by John Nelms, Chief Assessor for Hanover County as was this particular document which shows which "neighborhoods" were increased in value for 2009 (all the ones in black) and which ones were lowered (ones in red).  (Notice what the Assessor calls this document:  "2009 Reassessment Neighborhoods").    Only 23% of the county was reassessed this year.  Out of that 23% reasessed, 6,000 were increased in value by the Assessor and 4,000 were lowered.  So is it true that the Board of Equalization members don't know about these "neighborhoods?"   The Virginia Watchdog has filed a Freedom of Information request to listen to the Board's hearings that took place today.  We'll see if they are telling the people who filed for hearings the truth...
When it comes to real estate reassessing and taxation, the citizens of Hanover County, VA are getting the shaft.
Each year the Chief Assessor, John W. Nelms, Jr. - a Richmond resident - reassesses only a fraction of the county's total parcels.  That is called "spot" assessing and is done with the blessing of the Board of Supervisors and the County Administrator.
They received no increase this year , but 14% of the county got nailed with an increase. 
For 2009 tax year, only 14% of the county (about 6,000 parcels) got an increase in their reassessments while 9% of the county (about 4,000 parcels) were lowered in value. (On that list, the ones in black went up in value and the ones in red were lowered by Hanover Assessor Nelms who lives in Richmond.)   Here are his proposed changes for 2009.  Under the pull down menu take note of his comment:  

Here you will find listed only those properties
that have been reassessed.

That's right.  On that list he shows only the parcels he has reassessed which equals about 23% of the county or around 10,000 parcels. 

If a street you are looking up is not on there, it's because they received no change; however, all streets are listed in this list showing 2008 assessments.  (Note: after all the complaints they received this year are heard before the Board of Equalization, then all the parcels will be co-mingled and the list will look like the one for 2008.)

Why should we be concerned?  It results in more taxes.
Because when only a portion of the County is reassessed, it leads to unfair taxation since the equalization process cannot work as it was intended to work and the "roll back" tax rate is watered down by those who did not get an increase.  
The "roll back" rate is the rate necessary to offset any increases when reassessments average more than one percent countywide.  If only a portion of the county gets reassessed - say 25% - then their increases are effectively watered down when thrown in with the other 75% of the county who did not get an increase.   The roll back rate as a result is much lower than it would be if 100% of the county received increases.  
The last time 100% of the county was reassessed was in 1992 and the roll back rate was in the 23 cent range.  It's only been a couple of pennies most of the years since. 
The Board usually will lower the tax rate and then put it back to where it was - all in one vote.  When they vote to raise it back to where it was, they then crow about how they held the rate the same when in reality they have not.  They had to "roll" back the tax rate and they did...and then they raise it back up. 
And the citizens have no clue they are being screwed/cheated/schmoozed (take your pick).
This unfair scheme was discovered and made public in 1995 by the founder of this site; however, the County's Board of Supervisors back then and the current Board have done nothing to remedy this unfair way of collecting tax dollars. 
Our current Lt. Governor, Bill Bolling, was on that Board and he approved of it back then.   He got no increase this year either but 6,000 others did!
The scheme is so insidious, but it works to collect more money for the county that they can pittle away... and it's a way to divide and conquer the citizens.   If only 25% of the county gets reassessed, how can you expect to get the other 75% to help raise hell about it?  You can't. 
They know that.  Plus that roll back rate can never be fair by allowing it to be watered down by those who received no increase.
One day the citizens will wake up and vote out anyone who refuses to stop this practice.  There is a fairer way to do it, but the Board can collect more money from you by "spot" assessing.  It works for them but not us.  It's too subjective and unfair and needs to be stopped.
Are you happy with the "spot" you're in?
The Board was addressed on Feb 11, 2008 about this.   This letter was sent to the Mechanicsville Local and also a similar one was printed in the Herald-Progress.  A similar letter was also sent to the Richmond Times Dispatch but never printed...





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