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County doubles trailer value

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By The Staff

By DAMON LAWRENCE

dlawrence@roanecounty.com

Outrageous.

That was Charles Hall’s initial reaction when he learned the county had increased the appraised value on his trailer — structure only — by almost 100 percent.

“I couldn’t believe it,” he said.

Hall’s trailer was previously appraised at $4,500.

The recent five-year reappraisal upped the value to $8,900.

“If there’s anybody over there that wants to give me $8,900 for this trailer, I’ll sell it to them,” he said. “I’ll give them the deed.”

Getting $8,900 for the trailer could prove difficult.

Hall said the trailer is around 30 years old.

The age shows. The roof and the exterior shows significant rust.

The wooden steps leading to the front door are deteriorating.

The same can be said for the wooden back patio, held up by cinderblocks.

“There is no way in (expletive) that man could get $8,900 for that trailer,” said Ray Buck, who owns the property that Hall’s trailer sits on.

He said Hall wasn’t the only one in the trailer park, which is on Old Roane Street in Harriman, to experience sticker shock at the new appraisals.

“A lot of the residents out here are elderly people on fixed incomes and it’s devastating them,” Buck said.

Betty Dulling said the trailer she lives in was built in 1972.

Her trailer was previously appraised at $3,100. The reappraisal set the value at $5,800.

“It’s outrageous,” Dulling said. “It really is.”

Dulling said maintenance is the only thing keeping her trailer from falling in.

“If I had not done work on it, it wouldn’t even be standing now,” she said. “The county wouldn’t have had one to appraise.”

Dulling and Hall are not alone.

Countless residents have been frustrated by the reappraisal process, which has led to higher property values throughout the county.

The increase in values comes at a time when many people were expecting the opposite to happen because of the economic downturn and fly ash catastrophe that occurred at the Kingston Fossil Plant.

Hall and Dulling said they would still feel their appraisals were unreasonable even without those circumstances.

“Nobody’s going to give me $8,900 for this trailer,” Hall said.

“A trailer doesn’t increase in value,” Dulling added. “They depreciate every year. How could you appraise one higher?”

Help may be on the way, however.

When asked about their situations, Roane County Property Assessor Teresa Kirkham e-mailed the following response: “Values on older, single-wide trailers will be going down. They will receive a new assessment from our office.”