County Assessor Tom Copeland

Franklin County’s property values are expected to stay flat or decline a little under the reassessment process taking place now.

County Assessor Tom Copeland said he thinks the reassessments could be done in about six weeks.

He said he believes Franklin County’s property values are staying stagnant because of low home sales.

The area is still feeling the effects of the recession, but he noted that it is not as bad as some areas of the country such as the East and West coasts.

Real estate — land and structures — are reassessed every odd numbered year, so the last time it was done was 2011.

Copeland noted that there are 71,356 parcels in Franklin County that his office reviews, and it takes about 15 months.

His field staff makes in-person visits to each parcel to see if changes have occurred in two years that would impact the value.

For instance, if a deck or garage was added to a house that could cause it to go up in value.

Copeland said the value that his office assigns to structures and land is based on sales of other property.

He said his office tries to compare sales of property in the same vicinity. But he said because Franklin County is a noncharter county it is not mandatory for buyers and sellers to report the amounts of their real estate transactions.

Therefore, Copeland said his office sometimes has to go a little farther out from a property to find a parcel in which the sale price was voluntarily disclosed.

If people question their property values they are welcome to discuss their reassessments with Copeland’s staff, he said.

His staff uses market analysis and takes notes on a property’s change or decline in appearance, he said, adding that he is confident in the values his office assigns.

If this reassessment brings overall lower property values for the county, it could result in taxing entities raising their tax rates to maintain their revenue streams, Copeland said.

The reassessment process is going smoothly, Copeland said, adding that in recent years his office has gotten more sophisticated with its data processing and has upgraded equipment.

This has resulted in the reassessments getting done in a more timely manner, he said.

He also praised the diligence of his employees in the office and in the field.

There will always be some level of debate over whether people think their property is accurately assessed, he said. But he said the values set by his office are based on facts.

If a property increases in value, Copeland’s office sends a notice in the mail to the owner, but he does not know how many will be sent this year.

Values were also basically flat between 2009 and 2011, he said.