In April, we reported on the state's appraisal study in
Morgan and 18 other counties in northern West Virginia.
We hoped this would lead to a new reality in property
assessments, reflecting the current real estate market. We
no longer have high hopes.
The Association of West Virginia Assessors has issued a statement complaining that the appraisals, which are being done by an out-of-state firm, will take power away from local assessors. They questioned whether the company has a good grasp of West Virginia property values.
Assessors also feel the millions spent on the appraisal is a bad use of state funds at this point. They question why the state is paying a retired State Tax Department official to
oversee the study. After all, that official is now in charge of reviewing the very work that he formerly oversaw for the state.
The state's assessors claim tax breaks given to large
corporations and special interests have actually put more
tax burden on home owners and small business owners. They fear the current appraisal study is simply a way of justifying higher assessments, particularly in the northern part of the state.
Since the appraisal review is centered on values as they
were before July 1, 2008, the assessors' fears seem right on target.