There will be no revaluation next year in Orange County.
The Board of County Commissioners voted 6-1 Tuesday night to delay a revaluation until 2015. Commissioner Earl McKee dissented, concerned about the perception that the county was only delaying because values had declined, and wasn't following its past commitment to the four-year revaluation system.
State law requires that the county revalue resident property at least every eight years, but the county had been doing a revaluation every four years as land values had risen.
The county could have lost $9.9 million in tax revenue if it had revalued next year, since land values have gone down count-wide, said Jenks Crayton, the county's tax assessor. To maintain the same level of tax funding, the county would have had to increase its rate, which would mean most homeowners would pay more taxes, he said.
Property sales are down 20 percent compared to the same period last year, Crayton said.
"At the same time foreclosure is running at twice the level as last year," he said. "So
these are difficult and treacherous economic times … in conducting a reval now we would be at risk for making the situation worse."
Delaying a property appraisal would lead to the most accurate information on property values, Crayton said, because it would allow more for more sales to take place.
The way people are taxed on their land now is pretty fair, he said. Commissioner Chairwoman Bernadette Pelissier agreed.
"The whole thing about the reval isn't' really about what our tax rate is … it's making sure that people are taxed equitable relative to one another," she said. "The equity is a very very important issue and I'm not sure we can do it equitably now."
Current data on the county's real estate market warrants a delay, said Commissioner Barry Jacobs.
"I do have confidence in our staff in that the data does not support moving forward on the schedule that Orange County has moved forward on in 20 years because these are extraordinary circumstances," he said.