Property Tax Valuation – INCREASE! You’ve got to be kidding?
I received my Property Tax Valuation in the mail this week and was surprised to see the county had assessed the value of my property 10 percent higher than it was last year! Of course, this means my property tax bill will increase significantly based on their loose interpretation of “fair market value”.
This is preposterous! Property values nationwide have fallen 30-40 percent in the last 3 years and Troup County is no exception. The tax assessor’s office was generous enough last year to lower my valuation by a measly 7 percent, so I’m still due another 33 percent reduction to be in line with the recent downturn in real estate values.
They were forced to hold valuations due to legislative action, but now that the ruling has expired they can arbitrarily tack on a valuation increase knowing that most people will not notice. They are also well aware that even if people do notice the increase, they know that most folks are not educated in real estate appraisals and they know that people are too humiliated by the appeal process to bother with it. Property values have fallen and continue to fall, and the county thinks I’m stupid enough to believe that my property has increased in value!
But wait, I’m not by myself – if you’ll check your recent valuation, many of you will find that your property valuation has increase as well. Make no mistake; this is a property tax increase! They will be quick to tell you they have not increased the millage rate, but an increase in the valuation is a “back door” tax increase and they know it.
And this is a tax increase in addition to the SPLOST tax that was so well presented by our city and county governments and narrowly approved by the voters. There is still an unquenchable “tax and spend” mentality within our county government that has to be circumcised! I realize that sounds painful, but the private sector realized years ago that you had to make some very serious cuts and adjustments in order to stay viable.
The government is just now beginning to realize that. I’m not saying we have bad people within the County government, but we have some people making bad decisions that require more and more money. The mentality is to simply raise more money through fees, citations, fines, and “back door” tax increases. The Assessor’s office is not elected officials, but rather are county employees.
When you try to find who is responsible for keeping tabs on this office, not a single elected official will tack their name on it. So, they do whatever they want to; and the “burden of proof” to disprove their valuation is left up to the lone taxpayer! But this taxpayer simply will not be humiliated by unbridled government bureaucracy! Taxpayers - don’t accept these “back door” tax increases. The county has no proof that property values have increased. If they look at the raw data for what has happened to “fair market values” in the last few years, they would realistically owe us some money.
But hey, I was okay with allowing them to glean more money from me that they should have for the last few years because they were not the cause of a bad global economy; but I’m not okay with them thinking I am stupid enough to believe that my property has increased in value! Oh, and since I live on the west side of the county I’m sure they want to suggest that Kia has increased the value of property out here. The only properties that sold at unbelievably high prices were the properties that were purchased by the government, and a few uninformed “speculators” that thought the values were going out of sight. After the government quit buying property, everything settled back down to reality and the property values bottomed out just like everywhere else.
Somebody tell these folks the real estate bubble has burst! I know it takes money to run a government; and to their credit the county has taken some steps this year to cut cost to meet a demanding budget. Difficult decisions are being made and I felt that the message was finally getting across that the taxpayers are out of money as well. And then, I got my property valuation