Macon Idiocy

Allow me to vent about this. It just hacks me off. As you all know from a prior complaint, my home was assessed at a taxable value of over $160,000.00 a year after the bank assessed it at $122,000.00.

In filing my appeal of the assessment, I used the tax assessor’s own website to find comparable sales to my home. Our house is a three bedroom, two bathroom brick house with 2,454 total square footage. Below are sales of homes in my neighborhood of homes that are very comparable in design, make, age, etc. But, all of the sales were done AFTER the tax appraisal.

Date Sold

Sq. Ft. Sales Price

2/28/06

2330 $122,500

2/17/06

2687 $115,000

2/13/06

3478 $130,000

2/9/06

3257 $121,500

10/25/05

2456 $128,900


Again, all of these houses are brick 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom houses built in the same neighborhood in the 1950’s. Ironically, several of these homes were appraised at the same time for roughly the same amount at which our house was appraised. And yet, when sold in the free market, the sales price was substantially less.

That, to me, is a clear indication of a flaw in the methodology of the tax assessor’s office. And it is a frustration to taxpayers who have to deal with this mess.

10 comments

  1. Demonbeck says:

    Don’t scoff, mine went up $30,000 in Chatham as well. Thank God for Stephens-Day, though, because it won’t ever go up again until the next person owns it.

  2. Tommy_a2b says:

    I have some property in Middle GA (Dodge Co) and I got my assessment this week. They doubled the value of the land. Yes I said double. You ask well maybe that really is not that much. Try biting off 300K in one tax assessment increase. I hate property tax. It is the most immoral tax we have. As long as it exists no one owns land except the government, we just lease it from them.

    I do not want to hear one whinning cry baby say, “but we must use it to educate the children.” Our children (yes I have one) are not getting educated here in GA schools.

  3. Maurice Atkinson says:

    Demonbeck, I am not familiar with Stephens-Day, however, if what I am understanding by a previous post it freezes property values.?

    This doesn’t sound like it makes good policy. Values change. Bibb County’s values will always change, mostly positively unless a property is blighted. We are centrally located with I75, I475, and I16. We have a commercial airport and rail. In addition, we are near Robins AFB. We are experiencing a strong growth phase, even with the loss of Brown and Williamson. New industries are moving in. This impacts the value of property. And might I add, takes the burden off of homeowners.

    The law mandates that all properties are valued fair and equitably. Without a revaluation, properties are not taxed according to their fair market value.

    If a county were to freeze values, the taxing authorities (Board of Education, County Commission, Cities and Towns) can still manipulate the millage rate, because it is determined by their budgets.

  4. 4ofspades says:

    Maurice,
    I’m not sure if Stephens-day is the same thing that’s in Fulton county. My understanding of the Fulton county version is that your assessment can go up. What happens is the your homestead expemtion goes up when your assessment goes up. There is a provision that allows for a 3% increase in your taxes. When the property is sold, the then current assessed value is the starting point.

    I may not have all the details correct, but that is the general principle.

  5. Maurice Atkinson says:

    I’m following you. In the end, the property owners will still end up paying probably the same tax. Someone has to pay for the schools, city and county governments.

    That is why I have favored a SPLOST for equipment and special projects. It takes the burden off of property owners. In the end, however, there needs to be a strong dialogue on what governments are funding. In my opinion, they should be providing essential services.

    What I see is that many are willing to lob criticism at government, but are unwilling to involve themselves in the process. Party affiliation, voting and stumping for a candidate is only a fragment of the process. There are numeous boards that require one’s expertise, knowledge and skill, however, too few people are interested in serving or even educating themselves of the process. It’s really not that complicated. It only takes one’s personal initiative to make a positive difference.

  6. duluthmom says:

    My understanding is that 4ofspades is correct. The Stephens-Day allows for actual value to increase while effectively freezing the tax value via increases in the exemption. (However, I appreciate the fact that the real valuation is kept on the books because we’ve bought properties in states where it wasn’t and the first year was one heck of a sticker shock.)

    By freezing the valuation, it is supposed to hold your taxes in line with the rate of inflation, unless it goes to a vote. (The idea is to prevent back-door taxation due to unfair increases.)

    Opponents to caps and freezes typically say that they don’t work–that you still pay the same taxes any way or that the quality of schools will suffer.

    Many Illinois counties began to implement very similar tax cap laws in the early-mid 1990s without the freezing of assessments. Under the caps, collections are limited to the rate of inflation in the national Consumer Price Index or five percent, whichever is less. Ten years of studies have shown:
    -Tax growth was restrained by between 3-9% per year.
    -School expenditures were more likely to be focused on classroom instruction versus operating costs; and any increases in those other categories were determined by voter referendum.
    -There was virtually no impact on student test scores
    -There was virtually no impact on local government
    -Even with successful referendums, the long term effect of caps were greater tax relief.

  7. 4ofspades says:

    Maurice,
    With this plan, the revenue still goes up. One because of the 3%, and two because of sales in the county. So you can still do capitol projects.

    I do agree with everything you stated in your second paragraph.

  8. Demonbeck says:

    4ofspades is correct the homestead goes up equally along with the assessed value of your house, so the only way your tax bill is increased in if the millage rate increases. Your tax bill, as a result, remains relatively the same for as long as you own the same house. That way you don’t get stuck with a house that you have been living in for 15 years and can no longer afford the taxes on it.

    I also believe that it does also work to raise property values within the county somewhat as well.

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