Some property values go up, some down in property tax appeals process

The Forsyth County Board of Equalization and Review continues to hear appeals after restoring $3.7 million in value in global changes affecting two affluent, African-American neighborhoods on the east side of Winston-Salem in late June.

June 28 was the deadline for the board to make any mass changes affecting multiple properties. But the board continues to hear individual appeals.

When the board convened in the late spring, much of the public attention on the process centered on severe devaluations experienced by homeowners, including both upper- and lower-income African Americans on the east side and racially diverse, working-class neighborhoods on the south side. The push by many of those property owners was to restore values to maintain equity in their homes.

But many individual property owners, similar to past revaluations, are seeking to reduce their valuations.

The board approved changes today reflecting a net reduction in tax valuation of $1.5 million, although some individual property values were enhanced while others were cut. Most of the properties affected came to the board with a recommended change negotiated between assessors with the Forsyth County Tax Department and appealing property owners.

The board held hearings on a handful of appeals. The board approved an appeal by Christopher and Yvonne Anthony for a three-bedroom frame house off Shalimar Drive in Winston-Salem, raising the value from $65,800 to $70,000 after Christopher Anthony argued persuasively that improvements he made to the house should have increased its value.

But the board turned down a request from Bill Bodsford to reduce the value of nine vacant lots in Kernersville that have remained undeveloped since the 1970s because the land doesn't perk — or absorb water sufficiently to install a septic system. Bodsford argued that $8,600, the assessed value of each parcel, was too high. But board member Marybeth Abdow said similar unimproved land in the area is selling for $24,000 an acre. Slashing that figure by 50 percent to reflect it's percolation problems still gives it a value well above what the county assessed.

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