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Rousseau residents question increase in property values

Some McDuffie residents didn't know their property was worth quite so much.

After a total reevaluation of property in the county this year, residents at the end of Rousseau Creek Road had a case of sticker shock by what they were told their land and homes were worth.

"It kind of knocks the breath out of you when they hit you like that," said Frank Cheeseborough, whose lake-front property saw an increase in value of 94.5 percent since the last time it was reevaluated by the McDuffie County Board of Assessors eight years ago.

Mr. Cheeseborough and a neighbor showed up to a County Commission public hearing on the millage rate last week to voice their concerns over the jump in property value and subsequently their tax bills.

Mr. Cheeseborough said his tax bill will jump from $23 last year to more than $500 this year. The county as a whole saw an 8 percent rise in property taxes due to growth and the reevaluation of all property.

Several in the neighborhood paid visits to Chief Appraiser Katherine Perry in the weeks after they were notified of their assessed property value. Mr. Cheeseborough said it wasn't to complain about the value, which he said is probably correct; the visit was to find out why the value jumped so quickly.

"Money-wise, it's not going to break me, but it's just the principle of the thing to jump up that much in one year," Mr. Cheeseborough said.

The property value increase in the Rousseau Creek Road area was due to several factors, Ms. Perry said.

"They had the general building increases just like everybody else in the county did on their residential properties. They also had lot value increases out there that were very substantial," she said.

Also, after many years with few property sales in the area, Ms. Perry said there were never enough to warrant a reevaluation of the entire subdivision. In the past year there were several sales, she said. Those combined with the sales from years past caused a sort of catch up to what the property should be valued in the present market.

The one thing that property owners in the area are still puzzled over is the fact that half acre lots and one acre lots on one side of the peninsula were all assessed at the same value. Ms. Perry said the 45-day appeal period ended on July 29, but several are still under review.

Mr. Cheeseborough said despite the initial sticker shock, he thinks he still may have saved some money.

"I might be lucky. If they'd have started changing a little bit every year, I'd have been paying more over the last eight years," he said.



Web posted on Thursday, August 25, 2005











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