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Taxes: No revals in ‘˜09

There will be no revaluation of any property in Pike County in 2009. ”Unless there’s some huge boom in the market, we should be all right with the (current) values,” said assessor Paula Nalley at the Jan. 6 meeting. Assessors agreed last year at a called meeting to withdraw the 2008 property revaluation that drew more than 500 appeals from property owners. Chief assessor Jeannie Haddock said it was brought to their attention there were inconsistencies in the methods an outside firm used to set property values on rural Pike County land parcels and a lack of uniformity. Last week Haddock said her ratio is an estimated 37, a figure that reflects the comparison of last year’s sales to this year’s digest. Haddock said if Pike does not revalue property, Georgia could impose a .25 mill recovery. The state sets standards between 36 and 44. When audited, if a county’s ratio is below 36, Georgia bills it for one-fourth mill recovery. Pike County paid a $9,000 recovery fee in 2001. Haddock said Pike could pay between $9,000 and $15,000 if its ratio drops below 36. Revaluations are required by state law to maintain consistency between fair market values put on existing property for tax purposes and recent sales of similar properties. Residential and commercial property and rural land values must be done on three year alternating cycles. About 20 citizens attended last week’s meeting. Many were there to ask assessor to hold the line on property values. Carol Bass noted most sales included quit claim and foreclosures, which show a zero value. Haddock said bank sales, mobile home sales and large tracts of timberland are not used to determine the ratio. She said last year’s sales included 82 houses, 49 tracts between one and 30 acres and 10 lots of more than 30 acres. She said land sales in Pike are relatively stable. Tracts from 10 to 30 acres sell for around $8,000 an acre and tracts of 40 acres and up sell for $5,500 to $6,800 per acre. One 400 acre tract of land recently sold for $6,000 per acre. About 10 houses sold for less than their fair market value. There were 39 foreclosures in Pike last year, less than 1% of the digest. Assessors also place values on accessory buildings. Citizens John Hoover and Margie Trammell contend buildings that are not permanently anchored should not be assessed. Haddock said the assessors decided all accessory buildings should be taxed. She said they may have to go back and review the policy. She said some might then be considered personal property. She encourages all property owners to file a tax return with the assessors office from Jan. 1 to April 1 each year. If for any reason a property owner is dissatisfied with the assessed value, he can voice his opinion. This is especially applicable to those who have altered their property and applies to rezonings. The taxable date for property is Jan. 1. Any changes in use take place then. It is also the time to apply for Conservation Use Valuation Assessments. The deadline to apply for homestead exemptions is March 1. The tax assessor’s office can more fairly and accurately tax property if it is kept apprised of changes, Haddock said. View property record cards on line at www.pikeassessor.com. For information call 770-567-2002.

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