Upson County homeowners can expect an average if a 20 percent jump in their property values next year once the county-wide property revaluation is complete, an official in the county Tax Assessor's Office said Friday.
This year's tax bills, meanwhile are being mailed out this week and reflect only slight, if any, increases over last year.
The county's eight property appraisers - working with five others hired part-time - began the county-wide revaluation last April and are expected to finish by Dec. 19. The last time all of Upson's 15,000 properties were appraised was in 1999. Notices reflecting the new values are to be mailed out in March or April with actual bills going out in the fall of 2004.
"The current tax digest is at approximately 80
percent of the fair market value of county property," according to a press release from the Upson County Tax Assessor's Office. "This does not mean that every single property value falls within the 80 percent category. Some will be higher. Some will be lower. When the process is completed, however, everyone should be at 100 percent of value."
An employee of the Tax Assessor's Office said Friday the 80 percent number refers to residential values. She said commercial and industrial totals have yet to be calculated.
"It looks like the residential values are going to go up, but there are so many factors to consider," the employee said. "We have to consider changes in square footage, depreciation and many other factors."
When Upson County Commissioners approved a two mill property tax increase last month, they promised to try to roll back taxes once the 2004 revaluations are completed. They could, however, have a public hearing and keep millage at it's current level.
"State law requires that local governments must roll back taxes to offset any additional income they get from revaluation," according to the statement. "The only way local governments can avoid a rollback is to hold public hearings on the matter. In short, taxing authorities are prohibited from receiving a windfall from increased values as a result of revaluation."
Local tax appraisers say revaluations are necessary because the state requires counties to keep tax digests in line with fair market value of property.
"Revaluation is not a matter of desire or want on the part of the county, but a matter of state requirements," according to the statement.
"In a complete revaluation, appraisers go out and personally check every piece of property in the county to insure data on the property is correctly recorded," according to the statement. "After the on-site revaluations have been completed, appraisers update a computer database, Once all revaluation data has been entered into the database and verified for accuracy, the computer program provided by the state computes the fair market value of the property."