Bibb property value appeals to begin in September

Bibb County property owners who appealed their latest valuations got some good news Wednesday: The first appeal hearings will begin in a few weeks.

The initial hearings, for 717 property valuation appeals, will start Sept. 14, Chief Appraiser Andrea Crutchfield said. The Macon-Bibb County Board of Tax Assessors on Wednesday also approved 134 other properties to go to another set of hearings, and notifications for those hearings will be mailed today.

This year’s reappraisal is effectively the county’s first in eight years. About one in four property valuations was appealed, more than enough to keep the county from getting state approval of its tax digest. A judge Tuesday allowed the county to begin printing temporary tax bills. Half of each bill must be paid in October, with the rest due in November.

Under the judge’s order, however, properties under appeal because of higher assessed values will pay taxes based on a fraction of their assessed values. Final tax bills may be sent in the spring, after all appeals have concluded and the state signs off on the tax digest.

The assessors’ office staff have worked on more of the appeals and may finish reviewing them by the end of the year, Crutchfield said. But the hearings might not wrap up until February or March.

“We’ve worked approximately 2,700 appeals of the nearly 17,000 we had,” she said. The appeals will be heard by a Board of Equalization, a three-person board appointed by the grand jury, Crutchfield said.

Separately, assistant chief appraisers Pat Fallin and Judy Reynolds announced they had successfully appealed a state sales ratio study. Properties are supposed to be assessed as close to 40 percent of fair market value as possible, with a minimum of 36 percent. Bibb’s appeal took the rate from 29.9 percent to 30.12 percent, which will somewhat lessen state fines.