Beaufort County tax-appeals board reconvening after 4-month hiatus

cconley@islandpacket.comJune 23, 2013 

The Beaufort County board that decides property tax-related appeals is reconvening Wednesday after a four-month hiatus.

The board has been expanded from seven to 15 members and authorized by County Council to break into subcommittees so it can hear appeals faster.

The goal, county officials say, is to clear a backlog of nearly 200 cases dating to September 2011.

"The restructuring of the board provides more efficiency and expedites the process of conducting these hearings to resolve issues concerning the assessed value of Beaufort County citizens' property values," county attorney Josh Gruber said.

As proposed, the board's 15 members probably will split into three, five-member subcommittees, which would need only three members present for a quorum. The new model is based on a format that Charleston County uses, Gruber has said.

The board is composed of one member from each of the 11 County Council districts. Two members each from northern and southern Beaufort County are selected at-large.

Members are not paid.

County administrator Gary Kubic said Wednesday's meeting will include swearing-in ceremonies for the members and the selection of a new chairman. A representative from the S.C. Department of Revenue also will make a presentation to the board.

The board was created by a state statute in 1973. Although most cases are resolved by the county Assessor's Office, property owners dissatisfied with that review can appeal to the tax board, which can change valuations.

In addition to the backlog, the county is expecting a surge of appeals this year because of the property-tax reassessment that is underway. Residents are expected to get their tax bills with the new assessments in October.

Follow reporter Casey Conley at twitter.com/IPBG_Casey.

Related content:

Council to consider expanding tax-appeals board due to years-long backlog, May 19, 2013

Backlog for Beaufort County tax appeals 30 months and growing, April 4, 2013

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