It seems that everywhere you go in recent days the main topic of discussion is the higher tax values placed on some of the roughly 35,000 parcels of property in Troup County.
Even the LaGrange Daily News is getting in on the action by conducting an online survey of local property owners. Currently 64 percent report increases in values and taxes, and it’s a real oddity that the survey reveals the same percent of property owners whose values were increased match our high school graduation rate – 64 percent.
Doesn’t it seem ironic that a majority of homes and other properties increased in our area while they have decreased all over the country? Another thing that disturbs me is did the Board of Education members and some of the Troup County Board of Commissioners have inside information that there was going to be a big jump in the tax digest, therefore giving each group a nice backdoor revenue increase to cover their budget shortfalls?
All each board has to do is have three public meetings and the surplus funds will flow right into their coffers. But, if they were really considerate of the taxpayers, the county commissioners and BOE members would reduce millage rates, which is about like hell freezing over.
Most property owners don’t realize who determines how much tax they pay on their homes or farms. It is not the tax commissioner. The county commissioners employ a group of people (appraisers) trained in determining values of land and homes. County commissioners and the tax commissioner do not play any part in determining appraised values. Your taxes are based on 40 percent of the appraised value.
Taxable values are then reduced by a $2,000 homestead exemption for both M&O and schools, with other age, disability and income exemptions. After deciding how much they want to spend, the Board of Commissioners and Board of Education take the total amount of the tax digest and set a millage rate (what you pay for each thousand dollars of value). After all of this, the tax commissioner collects your money.
Tax Commissioner Gary Wood’s office has been deluged with calls and visits by irate property owners whose property values and taxes have been increased, but the tax commissioner has nothing to do with what your taxes total. Others decide what your home value is and set the millage rates.
Wood’s primary duty is to collect the money that is determined by the appraised value and millage rates – Board of Education (18.85) and Board of Commissioners (10.56).
Therefore if you have a complaint you should file an appeal with the Board of Assessors, or contact your county commissioner and Board of Education members and demand a reduction in the millage rates.
C. Lee West