Some Middle Georgia counties approaching end of revaluations

The property revaluation process in Bibb County has garnered its share of headlines in recent months, but several other midstate counties are finishing up new assessments as well.

Crawford, Peach, Laurens and Twiggs counties are among them.

In Crawford County, average property values climbed about 30 percent since the last assessments in 2007, said Al Brown, chairman of the board of assessors.

That’s a little more than the median increase that Bibb County homeowners saw with their new valuations.

So far, Crawford County, which has about 8,600 properties, has received 326 appeals, Brown said. That’s about 3.8 percent of its total property owners.

“It’s a lot less than I expected we’d see, considering the big jump in values,” he said.

A county must have less than 5 percent of the tax digest’s total value or fewer than 5 percent of the total number of parcels under appeal before the digest can be submitted to the state for approval.

Brown said he expects that tax bills will go out as scheduled this fall.

Peach County has received 374 appeals since its property assessment letters went out May 21, said Dennis Lee, the county’s chief tax appraiser.

That’s 2.8 percent of its approximately 13,500 properties.

“It’s about what I expected,” Lee said. “We’ve already resolved 110 of them.”

Lee said property values in Peach County had increased since the last assessment in 2006, but he declined to release estimates until the appeals process ends July 8.

“I don’t want it to interfere with the appeals process. People will see the average numbers and think something’s wrong just because their values aren’t exactly the same,” he said.

Residents in Twiggs County should receive their property assessment notices by the end of the week, said Earl Dennard, the county’s interim chief appraiser.

Dennard estimated that property values in Twiggs County have jumped 20 percent to 30 percent since the county’s last revaluation in 2000.

Laurens County is still in the process of getting its assessment notices sent out.

Kim Bryant, the county’s chief appraiser, said property owners should receive notices within the next two weeks.

While many midstaters have seen a jump in their property values in recent years, leading to higher tax bills in some cases, Lee said it’s not necessarily all bad news.

“When property values go up, the millage rates should go down, so it’s really a revenue neutral situation,” Lee said. “Plus, homeowners in this part of the state should be very thankful that their property values haven’t gone down like in other places in the country.

“I’d hate to think that the house I bought is worth less now than it was when I paid for it.”

In most of Georgia, property assessments cannot increase until 2011 under a bill signed into law in May by Gov. Sonny Perdue. There were exceptions in the law, however.

Information from The Telegraph’s archives was included in this report. To contact writer Carl Lewis, call 744-4347.