Forsyth County Residents Upset Over Tax Values

Forsyth County Residents Upset Over Tax Values

1:05am Mar 01, 2013
Tax officials say 93 percent of real estate parcels in Forsyth County saw some sort of decline in assessed value in 2013.
Keri Brown

Nearly 200 residents in Forsyth County attended a public meeting at First Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem Thursday night to voice their concerns over this year’s assessed property values.

Many Forsyth County residents were shocked when the opened their property tax assessment for 2013.

“Well, the last tax value I had before I got this notice said $68,000 and then I opened up the latest statement and it said $39,000. I haven’t knocked anything down. It's the government and they can do whatever, says Denise Watson.

In some neighborhoods, county officials estimated that home values dropped as much 70 percent. Jesse Adams lives on the South Side off of West Clemmonsville Road. He says the assessment process is unfair.

“I have lived in my house since 1969 and ever since I lived there my property values have steadily increased. Why one big lump sum? I can understand the economy, but decreasing my value by ten percent but 41 percent is just ridiculous,” says Adams.

Adams and several other residents filled the red pews at First Calvary Baptist Church to ask county tax officials questions about the evaluation process. Council member Derwin Montgomery organized the meeting.

Marvin Foster lives on the South Crest neighborhood off of South Main St. He says the assessment changes will mean a lower tax bill this year, but he says he would rather pay more.

“If I want to sell my property, I won’t even get the money that I put into it. I couldn't afford to go anywhere else so I added on, put new floors in and the city knew about it. I don't think it is right,” says Foster.

Overall, property values went down 10 percent in Forsyth County since 2009, the year of the last tax appraisal. County officials say 93 percent of the 157,000 parcels of real estate in Forsyth County saw a decrease in their assessed value during this time period.

John Burgiss, the county tax assessor and collector, says the values reflect the current real estate market and the prices that homes have been selling for in communities. Other factors that play a role in the assessment values are a home’s size, quality of construction and location.

Burgiss says property owners who disagree with their assessment can appeal it.

“What we want is 100 percent fair market value on the property. Certainly, one of the weaknesses we have in our approach is that we don't get to go inside properties, so we don't know the condition of properties and maybe some factual information. That is exactly why the appeal process is there,” says Burgiss.

There’s not a lot of time to file an appeal with the Forsyth County tax collector – the deadline is March 5. However, residents can also appeal their property value assessments to an independent panel called the Board of Equalization Review by June 28. 

Support your
public radio station