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Reassessment appeals hearings on schedule

| Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2002

The Fayette County chief assessor said Tuesday that the county's reassessment appeals hearings are on track to finish by the end of the month.

That means the $3 million reassessment will meet the Oct. 31 deadline for setting property tax rates based on the new property values.

"We will be finished on time," James Hercik told county commissioners at their meeting yesterday.

The commissioners decided in 2000 to pay for a reassessment — the county's first since 1948.

They had been informed that the current system was simply indefensible in court because it used several different rate books that had never been approved.

Hercik said yesterday that the county assessment appeals boards have conducted 7,500 appeals and have only 2,600 to go.

According to Hercik, 45 percent of appeals have resulted in some reduction to assessed value, and 30 percent of the hearings resulted in no change. Only 1 percent of the hearings resulted in an increase.

He also said 17 percent of those who filed appeals are simply not appearing for hearings, while another 7 percent withdrew their appeals or required more work.

In another assessment-related matter, the commissioners debated paying nearly $200,000 out of a bond fund to finance three more years of a county property Web site, along with software support.

The bond fund in question will be repaid over the next 28 years.

"We have these bond funds, and there's a temptation to use them. It's allowable; I just don't think it's prudent," Commissioner Ron Nehls said.

Commissioners Sean Cavanagh and Vincent Vicites said they favor spending the bond funds, even though the $200,000 wasn't budgeted.

The assessment department has received only 750 Clean and Green applications.

Hercik said he expected about 3,000 applications to sell development rights of large open tracts of land in exchange for lower property taxes.

Hercik said 7,000 properties in the county meet the 10-acre size qualification.

The program grants property taxes based on soil types and land usages, but exacts a stiff penalty should a landowner in the future decide to develop the property.

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