BUCKHANNON – Residents who have questions about how much their personal property and real estate taxes will increase if Upshur County Schools’ special bond levy call passes in January can find answers in the Upshur County Assessor’s Office.
Upshur County Assessor Dustin Zickefoose said he’s received calls from people who want to know how much their taxes will rise annually based on the amount – and type – of property they own if the bond levy passes in special election set for Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022.
If approved by a simple majority, the levy would enable Upshur County Schools to construct a new comprehensive career and technical education high school and renovate the current high school into a reimagined middle school. In total, with project is expected to cost an approximate $70.4 million, with $21 million coming from the School Building Authority of West Virginia and $49.4 million in funds from the bond issuance.
(You can read more about Upshur County Schools’ Vision for the Future here or here.)
Upshur County Schools has published two documents on its website – a 2022 Bond Election Tax Calculator and a 2022 Bond Election Tax Chart – to assist voters in calculating their annual estimated tax increase based on the current bond market value, and residents have called the assessor’s office asking for assistance using the calculator. Some also have questions about their individual properties and the values attached to those.
“People have been calling us for assistance, and we wanted to make that assistance available to everyone,” Zickefoose said. “Basically, for anybody who would be interested, we can help you figure out an estimate of what it might cost you in actual dollars on your tax ticket.”
Zickefoose emphasized the amount would be a mere estimate and not exact because 2022 property values won’t be finalized until February, meaning 2021 property values would be the ones plugged into the Upshur County Board of Education’s calculator.
“We would be inputting the assessed values that we have developed in our office into their calculator, and some residents might need help doing that or they might have forgotten about some property they own, but we have a record of all that. We can walk you through it,” Zickefoose said.
Assessed property values are 60 percent of fair market values, i.e., 60 percent of what a property would likely sell for in the current market.
Zickefoose said his office will aid taxpayers in a neutral manner.
“We are just providing straight-up information based on the property values and the levy rate,” he said. “We want people to be as educated as possible when they go out and vote.”
Anyone seeking assistance may call the assessor’s office between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at 304-472-4650 or email Zickefoose at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We may have a lot of people call, but please be patient and we’ll get back to you,” he said. “We have our employees trained and ready to help.”