‘County failed’: outrage ensues upon receipt of property appraisal letter | News


Landowners in Pittsylvania County recently received a letter in the mail regarding the revaluation of the property in 2022, which sparked outrage.

The county apologized on Saturday for what it called “bad editing” in the letter, but county residents are overwhelmingly saying administrators are just turning back the clock. The original letter appeared to claim a home’s value would be tied up if homeowners refused to let appraisers into the home, which sparked outrage as Virginia currently suffers a record number of COVID-related deaths per day. 19 amid this tumultuous global pandemic. Allowing strangers to enter the house flies in the face of CDC preventive guidelines, especially for the higher-than-average Pittsylvania County senior population.

Other county residents fear a privacy breach, citing the use of drones to collect photos and videos without owners’ consent, while others have noted more minor errors with the original letter, such as its mailing to tenants, although it only applies to landlords.

“Letting a stranger into your home, especially during a pandemic, is stupid,” said John Craine, owner of Sandy Level. “The county has failed in this reassessment process. “

The county administration says it never intended to threaten the homeowners if they did not allow inspectors inside, even though the letter says, “You can certainly refuse to allow it. ‘access to the interior of your home… but at this point, assumptions will be made which could affect the valuation of your property.

“We apologize for the confusion caused by improper assembly on our part,” Nicholas Morris, deputy director of public works for Pittsylvania County, said in a statement. “You can invite the real estate appraiser to show the features that you think can significantly affect the value of your property. Brightminds appraisers will not insist on entering your home. “

A social media investigation revealed that the majority of owners in Pittsylvania County did not find the original letter confusing. On the contrary, most found it threatening. The use of drones to collect photos and videos of private residences has been exceptionally reprimanded by local residents.

“Someone stopping at my house and launching a drone is a violation of my privacy,” Craine said.

Almost all of the county’s homeowners agree, according to the survey.

“They won’t come to my house,” Chatham taxpayer Jacqueline Crawley-Moser said. “It’s a violation of my family’s privacy. And if they try to get in, they better be prepared to push my dog ​​away because he doesn’t play these games with strangers.

For one owner, this is just another iteration of what she says is a deceptive and deceptive role model in county government.

“The county administrator [David Smitherman] said exactly what he meant, ”said Jordan Kee, a Chatham resident. “This is how our illustrious County Administrator runs the ship. Just failures in this county over and over again.

Ron Scearce, vice chairman of the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors, apologized, saying the board offered a “bad explanation” and encouraged county residents to help assessors produce as accurate a report as possible on the day. when the time comes. The administrators maintained that the property’s value would not automatically be lowered if the owner did not allow entry, but instead had the option of being lowered as the report would be incomplete.

“We apologize for not understanding the possible misinterpretation of the reassessment letter and the wording of the information request,” Smitherman said. “We are committed to communicating with greater care, precision and frequency as part of the 2022 reassessment process.”

By law, a property revaluation must be done in Pittsylvania County every four years. The updated property values ​​will take effect Jan. 1, 2022, but will not impact the current property tax rate, which is 62 cents per $ 100 of assessed value, according to a press release from the county. .

“An error of this magnitude is almost unbelievable,” said Cascade resident Rick Meeks. “There must have been a real protest for [the county] to remove that. Well you tried it and it didn’t work.

“I threw this evaluation letter straight in the trash… a waste of money,” Craine added.