Jefferson County residents will soon receive assessments
Jefferson County property assessment notices will be in the mail this weekend, and county assessor Sheri Blough urges residents to review their assessments and contact her office as soon as possible with any questions.
“This is a statewide re-evaluation year,” said Blough. “Every other year, the odd numbered years, are re-evaluation years.
“We walked all the [county] towns in the last year and a half and knocked on all doors. If you weren’t home, we left a door tag to contact us.”
Blough said she looks at a building’s age, condition, replacement cost and depreciation adjusted to the real estate market in making assessments.
“We follow the real estate market,” she said.
Residential and commercial property evaluations have increased and agricultural property has “probably increased,” in many cases, said Blough.
“Values increasing does not necessarily mean your property taxes are increasing,” she said. “Assessment is separate from tax levies.
“It’s the various municipalities that set the levy rates according to their annual budgets.”
For instance, Fairfield Community School District and the county are lowering levy rates; Fairfield city is increasing its levy slightly.
“For agricultural property, we used a five-year period, 2007 through 2011 and looked at productivity and the five-year earning potential,” said Blough. “It has nothing to do with the market.
“Commercial property is seeing an increase based on commercial property activities in the last few years,” she said. “I realize we still have empty office buildings.”
Blough said if anyone questions their assessment, they should call her office at 472-2849 or come into the assessor’s office on the third floor of the Jefferson County Courthouse. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
“In the next few weeks, residents can call us,” she said. “We can answer questions, and we will be glad to come out and walk the property with them and look at it again.
“So people need to look at assessments as soon as they receive it.”
A period to protest assessments is from April 16 to May 5, and if protesting, a resident can meet with the local board of assessment.
Jefferson County’s board of assessment consists of a farmer, a Realtor and a contractor, said Blough. The board usually meets in the evenings during May so no one has to miss work to protest an assessment.