Fayette County 2010 tax digest decreases by 6.35%

Fayette County’s preliminary tax digest figures are in and those numbers project close to what tax levying entities around the county have been expecting. The numbers show

that Fayette County’s overall value decreased by 6.35 percent for 2010. Hardest hit were the unincorporated areas and Fayetteville.

The total worth of the county for 2010 is projected at approximately $5.384 billion with last year’s values at approximately $5.748 billion, a difference of approximately $364 million, according to figures released Friday by Fayette County Tax Assessor Joel Benton.

Benton said the preliminary numbers are in line with where they should be, adding that the figures included fair market value sales and bank sales from foreclosures.

The effects of the recession were most notable in the unincorporated areas where values decreased from approximately $2.350 billion in 2009 to approximately $2.155 billion for 2010, or 8.30 percent.

The numbers for Fayetteville showed a 7.33 percent decrease, from $928.1 million in 2009 to $860.1 million this year.

Tyrone and Brooks came in at near the county average. Tyrone’s value decreased by 6.47 percent since last year, going from approximately $418 million in 2009 down to approximately $391 million in 2010. And in Brooks, figures of $29.281 million for 2009 were replaced by a value of $27.352 million in 2010.

Comparatively, Peachtree City was the least impacted by the recession, though values there dropped 3.54 percent. That translates into a difference in values of approximately $2.023 billion in 2009 compared to approximately $1.951 billion in 2010.

The preliminary numbers are not likely to change much, Benton said, noting that some change could come as a result of the return of value and appeals process.

The decrease in Fayette’s numbers is a significant departure from the numerous years that showed an increase in the county’s worth. Even during the opening years of the recession Fayette County, in 2007/2008 and again in 2008/2009, tax digest numbers were essentially flat, Benton said.

“I think we’re trying to be fair with our values for Fayette County,” Benton said of the numbers. “Our job is to value property at market value, whether it goes up or down.”

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