County Board of Equalization denies Wal-Mart reassessment request

The James City Board of Equalization declined a request by Wal-Mart to lower the assessment values of two properties in the county by millions of dollars.

Wal-Mart representatives requested the Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market in New Town and the distribution center in Grove have their property tax assessments lowered by $3.9 million and $33.7 million, respectively, Real Estate Assessments Director Jon Fountain wrote in an email.

The market is valued at $7.2 million. The distribution center is valued at $100 million. Wal-Mart felt the properties were overvalued, Fountain wrote.

The board voted unanimously to deny the request at its meeting June 27. Had the request been approved, the total assessment decrease would have come to $37.6 million and the county would have collected about $316,100 less in property tax revenue, Fountain wrote.

“From the board’s perspective, Wal-Mart’s tax representative presented data, but that information did not support their case,” said Michael Berry, Board of Equalization chairman.

Attorney Daniel Grubb, who represented Wal-Mart at the board’s meeting, didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment. A Wal-Mart representative didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The Board of Equalization is a five-person body appointed by the Circuit Court on the recommendation of the James City Board of Supervisors. The board allows property owners a means to appeal real estate assessments when the property owner can’t come to an agreement with the county’s real estate assessment department, according to the county website.

An assessment considers a number of factors, including land value, location of the property and size.

Property owners must make the case that the assessment on their property isn’t the fair market value or that the property’s assessment is out of sync with comparable properties.

Jacobs can be reached by phone at 757-298-6007.

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