Lemley Leads State Assessor Association
On Wednesday, May 24, Wetzel County Assessor Scott Lemley was elected the President of the Association of West Virginia Assessors. The association is made up of each assessor in the state’s 55 counties.
“I am excited about this opportunity to serve our association and county,” said Lemley about the honor.
Lemley said that as President of the AWVA, “our association will work to oppose legislation that will increase the levy rate on our citizens, and increase the assessment percentage on our property values.”
Lemley noted that the legislature has introduced Senate Bill 609, that would cut the school aid formula, “but would have increased the tax rate for our citizens.”
The AWVA has formed a subcommittee to monitor Senate Joint Resolution 8, which would require a constitutional amendment.
“As an assessor, the details of the joint resolution are troubling to me. The joint resolution states all personal and commercial personal property would be eliminated. This means the oil and gas companies would not have to pay taxes on their working interest assessments on their oil and gas wells. However, the mineral owner would have to pay taxes.
“Second, the joint resolution would change the tax rates and the assessment ratio from 60 percent to 80 percent, or possibly 100 percent.”
Lemley said that this means that if a property owner’s house is appraised at $100,000, the tax assessment would be $60,000 under the current law and constitution. However, if Senate Joint Resolution 8 passes, if a home is appraised at $100,000, the property owner will be assessed at $80,000 or $100,000.
Under the currently levy rates, a home appraising at $100,000, will increase from $690.60 to $920.80, or potentially $1,151.00.
“These tax bills are based on current levy rates; and these tax rates will likely increase under Senate Joint Resolution 8,” Lemley said.
“As Wetzel County Assessor, I would oppose such legislation because of the detrimental and financial impact it will have on our senior citizens. The AWVA has made it part of their legislative agenda to find ways to increase the homestead exemption amount for our senior citizens and those permanently and totally disabled,” Lemley noted.
“I would also like for us to study a more fair and understandable method of valuing leased oil and gas in West Virginia. Then, we can make a recommendation to the State Tax Commissioner that may be introduced to the West Virginia Legislature,” Lemley stated.
Lemley said that as President of the AWVA, he views his “responsibilities of representing the AWVA as a way to increase economic development in our State and County, but not at the expense or undue hardship to our property owners.”