Cornelius Officials Want Property Revaluation Appeals Stopped
Cornelius town officials are asking Mecklenburg County to temporarily stop work on processing property tax appeals. Mayor Jeff Tarte says a number of Cornelius residents appear to have had their appeals rejected "out-of-hand" and "with no logical explanation." Chuck Travis has a small piece of property on Lake Norman, right across the street from where he lives. It's a lakefront lot, but it's too small for a house and for years the county said it was worth around $15,000. So imagine the shock of opening his new tax bill and seeing a valuation of $700,000. Travis complained to Mecklenburg County and the tax office quickly adjusted the number back down, admitting there'd been a mistake. He was pleased, but the figure had been "so out-of-whack" Travis began to question the valuation of his private residence, too. Reports of property tax values jumping 30 to 70 percent are common in Cornelius. The county says Travis' home value has gone up 79 percent since the numbers were last adjusted eight years ago. He's still waiting on that appeal. Travis is also a member of the Cornelius Town Board, which this week sent a letter to Mecklenburg County asking for a moratorium on processing revaluation appeals. They say the process has been inconsistent and mishandled, leaving homeowners like Bob Elliott confused about what to expect and how best to make his case. "The communications are terrible," says Elliott. "They don't tell you anything. They don't write you. All we know is you hear you might get 15 minutes but I understand they're only getting five. What can you do in five minutes that you haven't already put on a hunk of paper." Elliott's new property value is 40 percent higher and he's still waiting to hear about his appeal. Mecklenburg County has been swamped with more than 41,000 challenges to revaluation. Cornelius Town officials hope a moratorium on processing those appeals will give the county time to communicate better with homeowners and assure fair decisions are made. Mecklenburg County officials are reviewing the request.