Some Chesterfield vehicles go up in assessed value

By Melissa Correa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) – If you own a truck or SUV and live in Chesterfield County be prepared. The value of your vehicle could be higher than last year, meaning a bigger property tax bill.

After cruising through the carwash, Leroy Gabayan's SUV looks like new. He has to keep it that way since he couldn't get rid of it last year.

"I couldn't trade it in. I didn't qualify for the Cash for Clunkers," said Leroy.

His SUV wasn't enough of a gas guzzler. But this year, when it comes to vehicle tax assessments, his little vehicle is paying off in a big way.

"It's been the same for the last two years, and this year, I think it went down a little bit," he said.

But not all SUV's trucks or crossovers saw a drop in value. Thanks to Cash for Clunkers used gas guzzlers are now a hot commodity.

"When you traded in your gas guzzling SUV it went to the junkyard instead of going down the street to a used car lot," said Commissioner of the Revenue Joe Horbal.

Chesterfield County bases its values on the NADA used car book. It's been that way for decades.  With fewer trucks and SUV's on car lots the value of those used vehicles goes up.

To give you an idea of how values have changed for trucks and SUV's, we're going to use a 2003 Ford Truck. In 2008 its value was assessed at $12,000.  Last year it was assessed 30% lower, dropping to $8,350.  This year the value was driven up to $9,100.

According to the county the reason behind the 30% drop is in 2009 fuel-efficient cars were selling like hotcake's, there wasn't enough demand for big vehicles.

"So basically the folks that own those cars got a pretty good break in 2009," Horbal said.

And for Leroy Gabayan, who has a fuel-efficient SUV, he'll be riding that pretty good break all the way into 2011.

So tonight, you may want to pull out your vehicle tax assessments for the two years. Chesterfield County says owners should see about a 20% drop in value from 2008 to 2010.

Copyright 2010 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.