MOULTRIE -- The fact that property values are going up isn't welcome news to some taxpayers.

Assessment notices are being mailed to Colquitt County residents, and many property owners will have large increases, Chief Appraiser Johnny Spooner said this week.

The assessor's office is required by law to revalue property when sales of like property show an increase in value, even if improvements haven't been made to the property since its purchase, he said.

Every year, values usually go up due to inflation, improvements or demand, but Colquitt County doesn't have enough staff to reassess properties every year, hence the leaps in value when reassessment does occur.

The assessor's office does not assess tax but values property, both real and personal that is subject to ad valorem tax. Ad valorem taxes represent a little less than half the county budget, county officials said.

Some increases in some citizen's taxes could result from tax breaks for others.

Last year, the state exempted farmer-owned agricultural equipment, which resulted in more than $50 million of assessment taken off the county digest, Spooner said. Another exemption went to dealers of motorized farm equipment, which took $12 million of assessment taken from the digest, he said.

"We all vote on these exemptions, because they have to go on the ballot," he said. "What people have got to realize is when you vote in an exemption, if it's not for you, what you're doing is voting to have your taxes increased. Somebody's got to pick up that slack."

Spooner also referred to a new homestead exemption that lowered the qualifying age from 65 to 62 that will lower the digest by millions more. Many qualify because the maximum income does not include Social Security benefits, he said.

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