I recently received a revised assessment notice for my residential property in Tallokas Trail Subdivision. The increase in assessed value was a shocking 15%. So my first move was to call the county assessor for an explanation. We had a lengthy, cordial conversation, and I will share what I learned with you. I made no notes during our conversation, so the following is stated to the best of my memory along with my occasional thoughts.

The state, and specifically the State Revenue Department, sets parameters into which the county’s assessed value of the actual sales value of properties must fall. Failure to maintain compliance with this requirement will result in a substantial fine to the county. This is required in every Georgia county to provide a stabilization standard to prevent numerous, and possibly unfair, assessment methods. The state receives no part of the property taxes resulting from these assessments.

The revised assessments were done on all residential and commercial properties. Without getting too detailed, the assessor’s office tracks sales in each subdivision and other defined areas over a specific time period. When the required number of sales in an area are made within that time period, a sales trend can be established. When the sales price trend exceeds the existing assessed values enough, the county’s assessed value must be raised to keep the ratio within the state’s parameters. The assessed values of all other properties in that subdivision, or identified area, are then adjusted in accordance with that sales trend. The same procedure applies to commercial properties, but the process is somewhat more involved.

Now why do you need to know this? Well, the amount of your property taxes is a function of the millage rates applied to the assessed value of your property. So if your assessed value increases with a constant millage rate, your taxes will increase. But there is an easy solution!

This county-wide assessment was done to bring the county into compliance with the state’s regulation, and not to raise more money for the county’s various governing boards. Therefore, I call on the County Board of Commissioners, the Colquitt County Board of Education and the City of Moultrie to roll-back millage rates to neutralize any increase in property taxes.

Businesses are hurting and many are closing. People are suffering. Many are getting fewer work hours and many have lost their jobs. Seniors are already struggling to make ends meet and can afford no more taxes. Now is not the time for increased taxes!

Bruce Leigh

Moultrie

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