Saturday, June 9, 2012

A message from Mayor Bill Floyd

The city manager and I met with several people from the tax appraiser’s office on June 5, 2012. The following information was given to us at that time.

  1. There are 30 properties that were identified last week with errors. These will be submitted to the BOA for adjustment at their meeting on June 7th. Revised appraisals will be mailed after the meeting.  Property owners will have 45 days from the date of the revised notice to file an appeal.
  2.  The appraisers office has identified an additional 1500 properties in the city that are being adjusted for any of several reasons
  3. The list of 1500 will be submitted to he BOA at their meeting on June 21st for approval
  4. If approved ,  these revised notices will be sent out the week of June 25th.
  5. Current appeal deadline is July 13th.
  6. If you receive an adjusted notice, it restarts the clock and you have another 45 days to appeal
Their Recommendation:

  1. Wait until July 2nd to appeal to see if you get a revised notice.  
  2. If by that date you have not received a revised assessment, you are probably not going to get one and you have until July 13th to file an appeal
  3. If you have received a revised assessment and it is a satisfactory amount you will not need to appeal. If you receive a revised assessment and are not satisfied, you have 45 days from the new notice to appeal.

  1. The appraisers are attempting to adjust land values to more realistic(their words not ours) levels  based on market conditions.
  2. You can appeal based on land value, house value or both
  3. The problems are due in part to a software transition they have been under going for about a year. They are currently operating under two systems. Our appraisals are under the old system that is difficult to manipulate for older more mature communities with varying housing types, styles and ages. Transition is expected to be complete before next year s appraisals.
  4. DeKalb County Tax Appraisers office under a tremendous work load now. If you receive an adjusted notice that is acceptable and do not appeal rather than filing an appeal and withdrawing do to a satisfactory adjustment, it will help those who do appeal receive a quicker response.
Our anticipation is that of the 1500 adjustments about ½ will go up and ½ will come down. Some will be satisfied and some not. Our insistence with the appraiser’s office is that all get a fair appraisal.

They also  do not use geographic definitions for neighborhoods in places like the City of Decatur because of the varying types, ages ,conditions and level of renovations of the housing stock.  For example – a house built in the 1930’s that is still a 3 bedroom 1 bath, 1100sf that has never been significantly improved is in an “Effective Age” neighborhood with other similar construction types regardless of the geographic neighborhood (Oakhurst, Winnona Park, Great Lakes); a 1930’s house that has been significantly renovated – added a second floor or new master suites, would be in a different “Effective Age” neighborhood; and a new house that replaced a demolished 1930’s house would be in a different “Effective Age” neighborhood.  Ultimately they want to be using a depreciation type valuation system that provides a reasonable fair market standard value for land and an economic life value for the building and any improvements. This is the system they are trying to transition to but have been hampered in making it work because of the dual software systems.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Tax news round-up

Here are some of the latest commentaries on DeKalb County's property assessment notices:

Saturday, June 2, 2012

AJC reports on boards of equalization

Thursday’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on boards of equalization that have experienced a sharp rise in property value appeals throughout metro-Atlanta.  The article also described DeKalb County’s “calendar-call format” for BOE hearings:
Instead of an appointment-based system that gave appealing property owners an assigned time to report for their case, [Cobb County] changed the format to a calendar-call system that requires scores of property owners to sign in so their appeals can be heard on a first-come, first-served basis…

Like Cobb, DeKalb County also adopted the calendar-call format to accommodate the extra BOE work.

“It wasn’t popular, but it is what it is,” said Debra DeBerry, the county’s Superior Court clerk. “That way you don’t lose any of your hours to no-shows, and we had large numbers of no-shows here.”

Based on its population, DeKalb is authorized to operate 13 BOEs, but it only uses between three and six panels because there isn’t space to accommodate more, DeBerry said. The BOEs have heard about 14,600 appeals for 2011.

DeBerry asked for additional funding for the BOE budget this year but didn’t get her full request. DeKalb’s BOE office budget is $442,000, including $240,000 for member salaries. She has also asked for additional operating space.

The AJC’s full article here may give local taxpayers some additional insight into how their BOE appeals are being handled, and what the BOE workload means for county budgets.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Message about property values

Please visit the City of Decatur's website here for a message about the property assessment notices that were recently sent out by DeKalb County.

Any update will also be posted as soon as it's available.