CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Wesley Heights Colette Forrest moved to in 1991 is almost unrecognizable today.
Forrest's neighborhood and many others on the edge of Uptown are changing. Older homes are being bulldozed for new ones.
As Forrest's surroundings have changed, so has the value of her property.
"It's a sign of the times," she said. "It was a very different neighborhood."
Forrest's home had a value of $133,000 during the last assessment in 2011. This year, the value of her home jumped to $295,600, an increase of 122.5 percent.
The significant spike could translate into a large tax hike.
Records show Forrest paid $1,800 in taxes and solid waste fees in 2018. In 2019, based on the city and county's proposed tax rates, as of now Forrest's tax bill will jump to $2,852.
"They're not just figures on a spreadsheet to me. They are, 'Does my son get EOG tutoring? Does my son go to a summer camp?'" Forrest said. "Those are the terms I look at. Those are the real-life terms."
Wesley Heights is far from the only neighborhood impacted.
Figures from the county show some of the areas seeing the largest increases are neighborhoods on the northwest and east sides of Uptown.
With the tax rates currently proposed by the city and county, if the value of your property increased by 36 percent or more, you will see an increase, according to the Mecklenburg County Tax Assessor's Office.
Records obtained by Channel 9 show more than 24,000 people across Mecklenburg County have appealed new assessments.
Some properties appealing are well-known spots in Charlotte. The Panthers are appealing the assessment of Bank of America Stadium.
In 2011, Bank of America Stadium was valued at $134.9 million. Now the county said it is worth more than $572,330,900. Last year, the Panthers paid $1.84 million in property taxes. With the proposed new tax rates, they would pay $5.52 million, a 200 percent tax hike.
The Plaza Midwood Harris Teeter wants a second look. The grocery store's worth spiked $6 million. In Midtown, the Metropolitan's value increased by $61 million. Also appealing is the SouthPark Mall whose property value increased $69 million.
When most people think about valuations, they think of houses but apartments are not immune.
One complex appealing is The Nook in Plaza Midwood. The value increased from $1.9 million to $4.5 million. Records show the Nook paid $26,973 in property taxes in 2018. With the new proposed tax rates, the bill could increase to more than $43,000.
For apartments in similar situations across the city, the worry is the increased tax bills will result in increased rent.
According to the Tax Assessor's Office, Mecklenburg County has already lowered the value of more than 4,000 properties, totaling $192 million in reductions. The deadline to appeal is Monday.
Attorney Larry Shaheen, with Carolina Revaluation Services, has helped hundreds of property owners leading to millions in reductions. Shaheen cautions against appealing for the sake of appealing.
"Under no circumstances do you want to make an appeal if you don't have the means of justification because here is the catch: Your value could go up," he said.
"Don't go down there and say my percentage went up too much. If you are going to go down there yourself, go down there with evidence. Get an appraisal, have your rental income numbers, show them something on the property card is wrong. Tell them you have full carpet instead of hardwood floors. They will listen, they've been responsive. They take walk-ins. They have been great."
Shaheen praises Tax Assessor Ken Joyner and his staff, saying they have been great to work with.
Shaheen advises people consult with a real estate agent, appraiser or attorney if they need help or have questions about the value of their property.
"Don't appeal if you don't have a clue. Do it with knowledge so you are not willy-nilly appealing because these guys are dealing with so many appeals," he said. "What's most important right now is you do it in a respectful, informed and calm manner."
Shaheen said a good place to start is by looking at houses or commercial properties nearby. If three or more sold for more than your assessment, he says to leave your value alone.
When it comes to the tax rate, Shaheen said any talk about the tax rate should be directed at elected officials not the assessor's office.
"One does not have anything to do with the other," he said. "They need to talk to their legislators, county commissioners and council members and let them know the only way they are going to get tax relief is with a revenue neutral budget."
Limited tax relief is available for some.
The Homestead Exclusion is available for people who are disabled or over 65 and make less than $30,200. If you qualify, most homeowners can receive a deduction of 50 percent of a home’s assessed value. Eligible people can apply between now and June 1.
For more information on the Homestead Exclusion, click here.
For the first time, the city of Charlotte is offering assistance. The city has invested $500,000 in a pilot program called “Aging in Place.” To qualify for the program you must be over 65, have lived in the home for at least five years and have an income between $30,200 and 80 percent of the area median income. Qualified applicants can receive a grant up to $1,000.
For more information on the Aging in Place program, click here.
The proposed tax rates for the city of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County are 96.5 cents per $100 of assessed value. To calculate your tax bill, multiply your assessed value by .00965.
To find out your new value, click here.
To find out what your tax bill was last year, click here.
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