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Franklin County’s newest real estate tax assessment signifies a potential boost for county coffers, with property values increasing an average of about 5.14% countywide.

That increase was largely driven by improvements in the market values of residential homes, said Mike Colavecchio with Wampler-Eanes Appraisal Group, the Daleville-based company conducting the county’s appraisal. Those values increased about 6% countywide.

Franklin County conducts a new assessment every four years. Although the new assessment may give some homeowners sticker shock, Colavecchio noted that the increase averages out to about 1.5% a year.

“That’s not substantial, in my mind,” he said. “That’s kind of normal market.”

The 2019 real estate value for the entire county was about $7.16 billion. That figure includes the property values determined in 2016, with adjustments for new construction in the years since, Franklin County Commissioner of the Revenue Margaret Torrence said.

The 2020 real estate value for Franklin County is about $7.53 billion. Colavecchio said that residential properties account for about 78% of that, or about $5.88 billion.

“That’s where most of the value of the county is,” he said.

Other types of properties also grew in market value, although at slower rates. Commercial and apartment properties increased an average of 3.6%, while agricultural properties increased an average of 2.3%.

Conventional wisdom in Franklin County is that expensive developments and homes around Smith Mountain Lake drive real estate tax revenue. The magisterial districts that border the lake, Gills Greek and Union Hall, have total 2020 property values of $4.4 billion. However, lake properties saw an average increase of only 3%, Colavecchio said.

By contrast, the county’s central Rocky Mount District saw property values increase an average of 7.2%, and value increased 6.8% in Rocky Mount.

The assessment provides a boon to the county, which saw real estate values turn down in 2012 after the Great Recession, and stay mostly flat in 2016.

The county’s real estate tax rate is 61 cents per $100 of assessed value. That means a resident with a home assessed at $100,000 would owe $610 in annual real estate tax. That rate is relatively low compared to Roanoke’s rate of $1.22 per $100 and Roanoke County’s $1.09 per $100.

In preparing the next fiscal year’s budget, the Franklin County Board of Supervisors will have the option of lowering the tax rate to ease the burden on property owners, a possibility that has to be weighed against capital improvement needs, such as completion of the new Summit View Business Park, the closing of the county landfill and school system needs.

Colavecchio will make a presentation about the 2020 assessment at the Jan. 21 board of supervisors meeting.

For residents who wish to dispute the value assigned their property in the new assessment, the Franklin County Reassessment Office will hold hearings Monday through Jan. 24. Appeals must be filed by midnight Friday. For more information call 540-489-0700, e-mail Contractor_FCReassessment@franklincountyva.gov or visit http://bit.ly/FrankREA2020.

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