Northampton approves 63.35 as tax equalization rate

May 29, 2024
Northampton County Virginia

The Northampton County Board of Supervisors approved a new tax equalization rate of 63.35 cents per $100 following a public hearing at Tuesday night’s work session in Eastville, falling by approximately 13 cents from last year’s tax rate.

The new reassessments have generated angst in the community, which prompted several citizens to speak at Tuesday night’s public hearing. By law, the initial tax bills are required to list the existing tax rate, which, coupled with a strong market, is what led to the jaw dropping number’s residents saw on their initial tax bills.

“My property showed $150,000 in improved value,” said Shiela Van Gordan of Jones Cove Drive. “I have no idea how that was derived.”

Nikita Ayres with Bayview Citizens for Social Justice asked the Supervisors for an exemption for their neighborhood, which aims to provide housing for middle and low income residents. Jonathan Smith, who bought his family’s home in Cape Charles for $11,000 and has renovated it, said his tax bill jumped from $5,300 to $19,000 annually.

“It’s not right to raise people’s taxes this much,” he said. “The house down the street that sold for $280,000 is nothing like mine.”

Northampton County’s Commissioner of Revenue Consuela Gonzalez was in attendance and explained the process behind the reassessment numbers. Rules pertaining to the real estate tax assessments and tax rates on localities are set by the General Assembly, she explained. Improved value to any property can include any number of factors, including outbuildings, dockage and bulkheads. During this reassessment, which occurs every two years in Northampton, staff visited all property in the County. She added she had just received sales ratio studies conducted by the State Government which confirmed the assessment values the Commissioner of Revenue’s office developed. Also, a strong, if slowing, real estate market has ballooned real estate value in Northampton nearly 25% in the last year alone. Supervisor John Coker pointed out inflation is up 15% in the last 3 years, which exacerbates the issue.

Supervisor Oliver Bennett said “If you live in an area with nice new homes being built, your assessment is going to go up. It’s very complicated, but the Commissioner staff is very willing to help the public.”

The new approved equalization rate is just a working number. The actual tax rate will be set as the County goes through its budget process in the coming months. However, the situation in Richmond has still not yet been finalized, and Northampton, along with all of Virginia’s localities, will be waiting to see the outcome before finalizing their budgets.

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