Upson County Commission Chairman Maurice Raines went on record at a recent Board of Commissioners meeting to assure the members of the community that there will be no tax increase this year. Raines noted he had heard there being a lot of talk throughout town about the digest shrinking and taxes going up and he wanted to clear up the matter for the citizens.
“I am fortunate to be able to report that we are expecting the digest to shrink about four to five percent this year. Real estate property values have been declining, but we will not have a tax increase in 2012 for Upson County,” said Raines who also noted the digest was originally predicted to shrink around 10 percent.
Upson County Chief Appraiser Jim Davis was present at the meeting and Raines called on him to explain what has been going on to the community. Davis told the crowd that the Tax Assessors office has been working to do a re-evaluation of all the real property, such as land and buildings, in Upson County over the last two to three years, however that property is not selling for as much as it did a few years ago in 2007 and 2008 before the bottom fell out of the market.
“Fortunately, we have not been hit as bad as others, such as Atlanta, Florida and California, like you read about in the paper,” said Davis. “I would say on average, the overall real property part of our digest has gone down about 10 percent, so far.”
Davis continued stating that everyone should have received their tax notices by now with an estimate of what they will owe. He stressed that this is only an estimate, made with the current mill rate and citizens could owe a different amount since the rate for this year has yet to be set. However, if anyone disagrees with the notice they received, they have until August 3 to make an appeal at the Tax Assessors office located in the Courthouse annex.
Davis thanked Chairman Raines, the board and County Manager Kyle Hood for all of their support of the Tax Assessors office these last couple of years. He went on to say that recently his office has seen as many bank take backs and bank sales as they have regular sales, which is something he has never experienced throughout his entire career.
“I have been in this business for 40 years and I have never seen anything like this,” said Davis. “This is a strange time, but we are doing our best to make it fair and equitable to the citizens of Upson County. Hopefully next year we will see property to begin selling for more.”