More than 1,400 of Bibb’s 2010 tax assessments appealed

This year’s tax assessment process is off to rocky but still far less contentious start than in the past.

Homeowners filed 1,401 returns on their properties, while business owners filed 451 returns. The returns — a statement of what the property owner thinks it’s worth — basically launch the appeals process for the year beginning Jan. 1, 2010.

That means that so far this year 1,852 properties already are in dispute. That’s a high number, Chief Appraiser Andrea Crutchfield noted, but it’s well under the 17,088 property appeals filed last year. Crutchfield said that as assessment notices go out for changed properties, such as new businesses or homes with a new deck, more appeals will be filed.

Jean Hagood, vice chairwoman of the Board of Tax Assessors, said she expected more returns would have been filed from people disappointed with the 2009 assessments.

Also, Crutchfield said the 2009 appeals process continues to wind down. In all, 2,156 of the appeals haven’t wrapped up, leaving 1.75 percent of the county’s property values in dispute. Crutchfield said scheduling difficulties with the Board of Equalization, which handles a critical part of the appeals, mean the process may not wrap up until mid-April instead of the end of March, as was earlier predicted.