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Many Kanawha officials saw drop in property taxes

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Many of Kanawha County’s elected officials saw a significant drop in their property taxes over the past five years.

But county tax officials say that doesn’t mean they’re playing favorites when it comes to figuring out how much taxpayers owe in the county.

“We’d have to be crazy to go in and change the assessments for an elected official,” said Steve Duffield, supervisor of commercial real estate for the Kanawha County assessor’s office.

“We don’t even look at the names [in assessing property]. We don’t have any reason to.”

Of the eight elected officials who serve in the county courthouse, seven saw their property appraisals go down by at least several hundred dollars between 2010 and 2014, county tax records show. Only one of the elected officials had her tax appraisals go up.

Of the county’s elected judges and magistrates, four saw increases in their property appraisals during the same period, while 13 saw their taxes drop at least once between 2010 and 2014, county tax records show.

Elected officials who saw their tax tickets drop during the five-year period include County Commissioners Kent Carper, Dave Hardy and Hoppy Shores, Circuit Clerk Cathy Gatson, Sheriff Johnny Rutherford, Prosecuting Attorney Mark Plants and Assessor Sallie Robinson. County Clerk Vera McCormick saw her appraisal go up almost every year.

Among the circuit judges, Duke Bloom was the only judge to see his property taxes go up every year, while Charlie King, Jennifer Bailey, Carrie Webster, James Stucky, Tod Kaufman and Paul Zakaib had their tax appraisals drop at least once during the period, tax records show.

Of Kanawha County’s 10 magistrates, seven saw their tax appraisals drop at least once between 2010 and 2014, while three saw an increase in their taxes.

Duffield said he understands how people might think county tax officials are cutting breaks for elected officials…

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