LINCOLN COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) --The West Virginia State Tax Department has released the results of an audit on the Lincoln County Assessor's Office.
Representatives say the county failed five of six sections on the 2012 audit, according to Assessor Josh Brumfield.
One of those sections includes the sales ratio, which means property must be appraised at 90 percent of market value by law.
Brumfield says the county's current sales ratio is only at 51 percent.
And there are penalties for that.
Without an exemption from the governor, Brumfield says the school board will lose $878,000 worth of funding.
"While I am very disturbed and frustrated by the West Virginia State Tax Commission Report, I have been elected to do a job and I am committed to cleaning up the mess," he said in a statement.
Brumfield took office in 2013. He says he will continue to talk with state officials about securing an exemption.
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“It's worse all over, but Lincoln County is getting really bad,” Monk said.
Property taxes are set to go up. It's a state mandate. But on top of that, it looks like the schools are going to be losing money from the state.
“I don't think they can afford that,” Monk said.
In 2007, a bill was passed that required all property in West Virginia to be reassessed for taxes at its fair market value. Assessors had six years to do it, but in Lincoln County that didn't happen. That meant property owners paid less in taxes, and the state had to chip in more for school funding.
“Devastating,” Superintendent Patricia Lucas said. “I'm like, what? We're going to be penalized? And in what way? How much?”
Those are questions that are still yet to be answered. It could be August before the school district finds out how big of a penalty it will face -- a penalty for something the superintendent says had nothing to do with the schools.
“I am very frustrated,” Lucas said. “Disappointed that there would be something in a bill that would penalize a school system for an agency that we have absolutely no control over. How does that happen?”
But it has. And it could mean cuts to programs, sports and even faculty.
“It's gonna make it hard on a lot of folks here in Lincoln County,” Monk said.
As the county tries to comply with state law.
The assessor has requested a three-year extension to complete the assessments. He expects to hear back by Monday on that.
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