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PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY

New firm tapped for do-over process of Pittsylvania County reassessments

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The do-over process for Pittsylvania County reassessments is moving forward.

On Tuesday night, the board of supervisors approved a contract with Pearson’s Appraisal Services to complete the 2024 reassessment.

The Richmond-based firm was hired after the board tossed out the results of the recent reassessment by Brightminds.

The previous process was riddled with problems and turbulence. It all started when confusion erupted over a county letter referring to reassessment teams going into homes. Angered residents believed it meant they had to allow representatives from Brightminds — the contract company performing the reassessment — to come into their homes. That fueled a firestorm of controversy that sent calls and emails inundating county offices.

The county later described the February 2022 letter as “poorly edited.”

The next shock came in November when residents opened a notice in the mail to find the new assessed value of properties had skyrocketed.

By law, localities with more than 50,000 residents must conduct reassessment every four years. The results were invalidated at a March meeting of the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors “due to significant concerns that had emerged regarding the assessment’s statutory compliance, data integrity, and uniform/equitable application of values,” the county reported in a news release.

For the next two fiscal years, the county is using values on the 2018 reassessment for tax purposes.

With the contract approved Tuesday night, the county will pay Pearson’s Appraisal Services a per-parcel assessment fee of $26, which equates to about $1.38 million when spread over the 53,000 county parcels.

The goal is for work to start in June — with field visits commencing in July — so the updated values are ready for 2024 real estate taxes. The process is expected to be finished by September 2023.

Then reassessment notices should be mailed to property owners in October 2023, the county reported, and hearings with the board of assessors are expected to take place in October and November of of that year.

The board of equalization — an independent body appointed by supervisors to hear and consider assessment appeals — is slated to meet between February and April in 2024, the release stated.

Funds were allocated for the reassessment re-do for the upcoming fiscal year’s budget approved last month.

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