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Candidate addresses homestead situation
District 3 hopeful is second to face issue
Shorr Josh
Josh Shorr - photo by Submitted
It appears more than one Forsyth County commission candidate has learned he's not exempt from scrutiny on homestead filings.

About a week after District 1 candidate Brant Meadows paid back taxes for having homestead exemptions on two properties, District 3 candidate Josh Shorr is facing a similar issue.

Shorr bought a town home when he moved to Forsyth County in 2004. A few years later, he and his family moved to a home in Polo Fields, where they currently live.

Both properties are in District 3, which covers the county's southwestern corner.

Though he already had a homestead exemption in his name on his Thornborough Drive town home, he filed another exemption for his Stratford Place home in Polo.

“I just assumed that once I filed a new homestead exemption, especially in the same county ... I just figured they’d apply it to the new one,” Shorr said.

Shorr visited the tax commissioner’s office Thursday morning to pay the two years he owes in back taxes.

He likely will also face the Board of Tax Assessors during its July meeting to determine whether he should have paid any penalties or fees.

“[Shorr] came in and volunteered to pay, same like Brant came in and promptly took care of it,” said Matthew Ledbetter, tax commissioner. “I didn’t know what was going on until he came in and brought it to my attention.”

Ledbetter said Shorr paid $460.66, which includes the two years of taxes owed, as well as $60.96 of interest and $36.34 in penalties.

In Meadows' case, the Board of Tax Assessors later determined that he should be reimbursed for the penalties and interest he paid.

Shorr is one of four candidates in the July 20 Republican primary for the District 3 post on the commission.

There are no Democrats running for the spot, so whoever emerges from the GOP primary -- which could take an Aug. 10 runoff to determine -- claims the seat.

Shorr said he’s actually glad the homestead situation was brought to his attention.

With two of just seven commission candidates having this issue, Shorr said he wanted to make sure it was resolved.

“How much more revenue is being lost from people who, just like me, are honest taxpayers ... there should be a system in place that notifies the county, because how many other people are dealing with this same issue," he said.

Tax Assessor Mary Kirkpatrick was out of the office Wednesday and Thursday. She has previously said Meadows’ exemptions were overlooked because one was filed under his name, and the other under his wife’s name.

With Shorr, however, both properties were filed under the exact same name -- his.

Trassa Quarles with the tax assessor’s office said she’s not sure how the oversight with Shorr could have happened.

But to be on the safe side, she said all homestead exemptions in the county are under review.

Since the Meadows issue, the office has started alphabetically running “a list of all the homesteads and then we’re having to eyeball them.”

“I don’t know how and when all of it will be done,” she said.

The office is through the letter "N," but the labor-intensive process could take another few weeks.

Quarles said she hopes the office can eventually shift to a computer program that could pull similarities like names and addresses automatically.

“That’s really what we need, because to me it would be more cost effective to have an IT [worker] figure out a program that would do this, rather than four of us taking time ... to see if we can catch everything,” she said. “It would be wonderful to have a computer program to do that.”