A. On or before March 1 of each year, the trustees of the watershed improvement district shall make an estimate of the amount of money they deem necessary to be raised for the year in such district (i) for operating expenses and interest payments and (ii) for amortization of debt, and, after approval by the directors of the soil and water conservation district or districts, and the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board, shall establish the tax rate or service charge rate necessary to raise such amount of money. The tax rate or service charge rate to be applied against the amount determined under subsection C or D of this section shall be determined before the date fixed by law for the determination of the general levy by the governing body of the counties or cities in which the district is situated.
B. The trustees of a watershed improvement district which imposes a tax on real estate or a service charge based on the increase in the fair market value of real estate caused by the district’s project shall make up a landbook of all properties subject to the watershed improvement district tax or service charge on forms similar to those used by the county or city affected.A separate landbook shall be made for each county or city if the district is located in more than one county or city. The landbook or landbooks of all properties subject to the district tax or the service charge, along with the tax rate or service charge rate fixed by the governing body of the district for that year, shall be certified to the appropriate county or city treasurer or treasurers, and filed in the clerk’s office of such locality or localities, by the governing body of the watershed improvement district on or before the day the county or city landbook is required to be so certified. Such landbook or landbooks shall be subject to the same retention requirements as the county or city landbook.
C. For tax purposes under this article, the assessed valuation of all real estate located in a watershed improvement district shall be the same fair market valuation that appears in the most recent landbook for the county, city, or town wherein the subject property is located. However, in a watershed improvement district which is located in two or more counties or cities and in which there is a disparity of assessed valuations between the counties or cities, the governing body of the watershed improvement district may petition the judge or judges of the circuit courts in which the district is located to appoint one or more persons to assess all of the real estate in the district. The compensation of such person or persons shall be prescribed by the governing body of the district and paid out of the funds of the district.
D. In districts authorized to impose a service charge, the service charge shall be based on the initial increase in fair market value resulting from a project. In order to determine the initial increase in fair market value, the trustees shall subtract the fair market value of each parcel without the project, as shown in the landbook for the year immediately preceding the year in which the project was begun from the fair market value of the parcel following completion of the project. The fair market value of each parcel with the project shall be determined by the district directors in a reasonable manner. The values so determined shall be the values against which the service charge rate is imposed so long as any bonds remain outstanding, and thereafter unless a change is approved by the district directors. If an additional improvement is made while any bonds are outstanding, the district directors may cause a new increase in fair market values to be computed to reflect such improvement. However, while any bonds are outstanding, such newly computed values shall not be used unless the total new increase in fair market values in the district is equal to or greater than the previously determined increase in fair market values. Within thirty days after determining the increase in fair market value for all real estate in the watershed improvement district resulting from the project, the trustees shall mail a notice of such determination to the owner of record of each parcel in the district.
E. The assessments and determinations of increase in fair market value made under the provisions of this section may be used only for the watershed improvement district tax or service charge and shall in no way affect any county or city assessment or levies.
F. Any person, firm, or corporation aggrieved by any determination of increased value made under any provision of this article shall apply in writing to the trustees of the watershed improvement district within sixty days after the mailing of the notice required in subsection D of this section. Such application shall specify the increased value in the opinion of the applicant and the basis for such opinion. The trustees shall rule on all such applications within 120 days after mailing the notice required in subsection D of this section. If any applicant remains aggrieved by the determination of increased value after such a ruling, he may apply to the circuit court of the county or city wherein the land is situated for a correction of such determination of increased value, within the time limits and following the procedures set out in Article 5 (§ 58.1-3980 et seq.) of Chapter 39 of Title 58.1.
G. The provisions of this section shall not be used to change the method of real estate assessment in any watershed improvement district established prior to January 1, 1976.
1981, c. 156, § 21-112.12:1; 1988, c. 891.