Clay waits a month for 'best' property values

Staff Writer

It'll be another month before Clay County leaders gets an idea what property values will be but when they do, it likely will be the most accurate numbers they've ever had.

After an audit last year, the state demanded Clay County go to digital records for property mapping and values.

The county signed a contract with the Golden Triangle Planning and Development District to convert all county land records and values to computer form.

That contract was supposed to take 18 months but Toby Sanford with the GTPDD and Mike Sanders in Tax Assessor Paige Lamkin's office are ahead of schedule and could have the numbers ready within two weeks but certainly by next month.
Monday, the Board of Supervisors gave Lamkin a 30-day extension on her filing her preliminary land rolls and values, which normally must be done the first Board meeting in July.
"With this extension I think we can avoid an order from the state.

We are well ahead of schedule and instead of taking another year, I think we can be ready if we have another 30 days," Lamkin told the board.

"We didn't get the last round of figures until 10 days ago and we know there are some areas we need to look at. Rather than give them a number that could be off a good bit, we wanted to be sure," she said afterwards.
 "Once we get this done, everything else will fall in to place."

The digital system is important for several reasons but most notably because it gives county leaders an accurate value of property in the county. County revenue estimates and tax rates are based on those values.

The mapping system better identifies properties where improvements have occurred that positively or negatively impact values. For instance, if barns or other structures have been added but not recorded, the value might have increased.
Likewise, if a mobile home has been removed, the value may have decreased.

"Because of those potential changes, we want to make sure we have everything as close as we can when we present it. It's important we have the best numbers we can.

Once we get this done, it'll be much better from now on out," Lamkin said. 
Supervisors and Chancery Court Clerk Amy Berry will use those values to estimate revenues for the new budget that starts Oct. 1.

Although the estimates may come a little later, the board can start working on spending projections until they have the revenues estimate to match up and making adjustments in August.