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Many homeowners to see property tax hike

More Kanawha County property owners will see their taxes go up by at least 10 percent this year than in years past.

Notices to affected owners will start going out today, said Steve Duffield, supervisor of the Commercial Reappraisal division of the Kanawha County Assessor's Office.

A total of 27,697 notices will be sent out this year, he said. That includes 24,210 residential property owners and 3,487 commercial property owners.

The number of notices is up from 2012 and 2011.

In 2012, 21,141 notices were mailed, including 18,752 residential and 2,389 commercial owners received notices.

In 2011, 18,403 property owners, including 17,862 residential and 541 commercial owners, received notices.

This year's number is a 50.5 percent increase over 2011 and a 31 percent increase over 2012.

Duffield did not have the information concerning the number of notices going to each tax district in the county as yet.

Steve Sluss, general counsel for the assessor's office, pointed out that although residents have been hearing about decreased property values all over the country, Kanawha County and the rest of the state did not experience the housing bust that occurred elsewhere. 

"We didn't see the boom that everyone saw several years ago, but we didn't experience the bust, either," Sluss said.

"Realtors have told me that the property may take longer to sell, but they're still getting the asking price for it," he added.

State law requires county appraisals to be within 10 percent of fair market value.

That value is determined by the sale price of comparable property or that specific piece of property once it goes on the market, Duffield said.

For example, if the assessor's office appraises a property at $100,000, then the fair market value must be from $90,000 to $110,000, he said.

The assessor is allowed to use income as a factor in a parcel's worth, and that may be one reason why taxes will increase for more commercial properties than in past years, he said.

However, commercial property values also can increased by 10 percent or more if the owner does not provide income information. That's because the assessor's employees would have to estimate the income, Duffield said.

Anyone wishing to contest a property appraisal can contact the assessor's office, Assessor Sallie Robinson said.

"Our door is always open," she said.

The assessor's office can be reached at 304-357-0250. A contact number also will be listed on the mailed notices, Sluss said.

Property owners also can challenge their appraisals during the Kanawha County Commission's Board of Equalization and Review.

The board will meet every Tuesday and Thursday in the Kanawha County Commission chambers from Jan. 31 to Feb. 26.

Kanawha County commissioners sit on the board.

Commission President Kent Carper said commissioners and the assessor's office have different roles.

"It's their responsibility to do the assessments, and then it's our responsibility to look at each (property owner's) petition and challenge one by one," Carper said. 

Contact writer Paul Fallon at or 304-348-4817. Follow him at ;;; 



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