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Flurry of requests at reassess deadline
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Forsyth County News

Mary Kirkpatrick joked that she spoke too soon when she estimated only 3,000 people would ask for a property reassessment this year.

While final requests were still being tallied Friday, Forsyth County’s tax assessor said it appeared nearly 5,000 people were looking for a reduction in their property’s value.

“[Wednesday] was terrible," she said. "We couldn’t stop long enough to count. We had tax representatives bringing them in by the hundreds.

“I can tell you this much, there were a lot of people, but that’s still less than we got last year.”

About 6,000 people sent in requests, known as returns, last year.

While most of this year’s rush fell on March 31, Kirkpatrick said the April 1 deadline also drew some last-minute filers.

For those who didn’t file a return, it will be another year before one can be submitted. For those who made the deadline, however, the assessor’s office will respond in mid-May.

“If we agree with their [assessment], we will send them a notice,” Kirkpatrick said.

But that happens less than 5 percent of the time. In most cases, she said, the homeowner will receive a notice listing how much the assessor’s office thinks the property is worth.

“If they still don’t like the value after we review these returns, they need to make sure they file their appeal in May or June," she said.

"Folks have to watch for that notice in May, because they have to file an appeal within 45 days. A return is not an appeal.”

A state law enacted last year prevents assessments from rising until 2012.

Kirkpatrick has previously said she expects the county's tax digest, or total value of all properties in the county, to drop by as much as 5 percent.

In 2009, the digest was nearly $8.95 billion. The 2010 digest could fall to about $8.5 billion, which would translate into less tax revenue for the county and further compound its budget woes.