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Pittsylvania County officials apologize after reassessment letter sparks backlash
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Pittsylvania County officials apologize after reassessment letter sparks backlash

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William Cole, a partner with Brightminds, operates a drone to reassess property values in Pittsylvania County in September.

A letter about 2022 reassessments sparked a backlash of confusion that led to Pittsylvania County issuing an apology to residents Saturday.

The "miscommunication" and "poor editing," as the county calls it, refers to reassessment teams entering homes to perform their duties. In a departure from previous years, Brightminds — the contract company performing the reassessment — is asking property owners to provide details about the interior of homes along with and major renovations or damages since the 2018 reassessment.

This particular point is what caused chaos and "lots of calls and emails and messages from residents about the letter," county spokesperson Caleb Ayers told the Register & Bee on Saturday.

“We apologize for the confusion caused by poor editing on our part,” said Nicholas Morris, Pittsylvania County assistant director of public works who is also overseeing the reassessment process, said in a Saturday news release. “You are welcome to invite the property assessor in to show features that you feel may significantly change the value of your property. Brightminds’ assessors will not insist on entering your home. ”

Over the last few months, Brightminds has employed drones — flying photography machines — to capture aerial photos of properties in the county.

From now until June, teams plan to physically visit every property. The owners can provide details or invite a Brightminds team member inside. The purpose, the county said in the release, is to allow for a better understanding of the home and in turn a clearer snapshot of value.

The county stresses by refusing to allow assessors inside will not "necessarily result in a higher valuation." Instead the county said it will be a less accurate assessment.

“We apologize for not understanding the potential misinterpretation of the reassessment letter and information request's wording," said Pittsylvania County Administrator David Smitherman said in the release. "We are committed to communicating with better care, precision and frequency thought the 2022 reassessment process."

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