Assessor's office to do reappraisals

By Kathy Helms-Hughes
STAR STAFF
khelms@starhq.com

   If you're a resident of the Fish Springs area, don't be alarmed if somebody comes knocking on your door, asking whether you've made any home improvements lately.
   No one's going to hit you with a fast sales pitch. It's just your friendly representatives from the Carter County Property Assessor's Office.
   According to Assessor Gerald Holly, the county is on a five-year reappraisal program.
   "The state gives us so many maps to work per quarter. In other words, we have to go on the property to see if there have been any changes made," Holly said. "We have two field guys that monitor the county and if there are any additions or deletions, we pick those up."
   Holly said the field representatives are careful to knock on the doors and let people know they are there, but from personal experience, he has found that residents don't always hear the knock.
   "I was out there almost five years. I've been run off, cussed at, and dog bit, but I just always tried to be nice to people and do my job," he said.
   Field representatives drive either a white or red Jeep bearing a Carter County seal. They also have county identification cards that they carry and will be happy to show residents who might question their legitimacy.
   Holly said the field representatives will be in the Fish Springs area probably two to three weeks and then they'll be moving down toward the Pinecrest area.
   The last county reappraisal was 2001 and the next reappraisal will be in 2006, according to Holly. "We're on a five-year cycle," which was set up with the state by former Property Assessor John Holsclaw.
   "All during that five-year cycle, until the next reappraisal, any time anybody adds on or makes any improvements to their property, it raises the value of their property and we make those adjustments," Holly said.
   The field reps will be traveling door to door throughout the county until the next reappraisal in 2006.
   "During the five-year cycle of the reappraisal, the state requires us to monitor all of the property and if there's any additions, then they have to be added; or if there's any deletions -- because sometimes barns fall down or people tear buildings down -- we take those off [the books].
   "Any changes that are made go to Nashville and they print us a new state card back, showing if there's been any improvements, if there's been an increase or decrease in assessment. The assessment value is what the County Budget Committee looks at when they set the tax rate," Holly said.
   If your residence is valued at $1 million, it will be assessed at 25 percent. There are different percentages assessed for businesses, personal property and utilities, according to Holly. "Commercial is 40 percent; personal property and utilities are 55 percent."
   Once the appraisal and assessment information is turned over to the state and the County Budget Committee, then the local property tax rate is set based on the total assessment of the county, Holly said.