County reassessment almost complete

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

The process of reassessing real estate property values in Barry County is almost complete, according to Barry County Assessor June Smith.

County property owners can expect to receive notices of any increase in property value by mail during the second week of May. Only those residents whose property values have increased will receive notification.

Missouri law requires all counties to conduct a property reappraisal every odd-numbered year. This process is very involved, according to Smith.

"We start early, and now, have been at it for over a year," said Smith.

The reappraisal work is handled by two full-time field personnel who visit every property in the county every two years. The field review includes verifying all previously recorded data, evaluating the condition of improvements to the property and actually measuring any new additions or building.

Smith said the State Constitution requires that property values reflect fair market value. This local value is established by studying recent property sales and current construction costs.

"If property values do not reflect market values, state funding to local schools could be negatively impacted," Smith said.

Smith, who has served as assessor since 2000, said she expects property values to rise due to the fact that land values have increased over the past two years along with building costs.

The assessor's office will not have the new reappraised property values for Barry County until the first of June.

In 2005 when the last reassessment was conducted, county property values increased by over 14 percent.

A breakdown of real estate property values in the 2005 assessment revealed that Barry County's commercial property values rose by 12 percent, residential property values increased by 17.4 percent and agricultural land values went up by 7 percent.

In 2003, the county's total real estate property value was $218,785,765, and in 2005, that figure increased to $251,802,579. Last year, property values in the county totalled $261,173,099.

According to Smith, property owners will have the opportunity to dispute their new property values once the increase notices are mailed.

"During the month of May, we have informal hearings with anyone who has questions (about reappraisal of their property)," said Smith.

"We encourage people to come meet with us first before making an appointment with the Board of Equalization, which meets the second week of July," added Smith. "It's much better if we are able to work it out from our office."

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