39% of Coweta properties see decline in value

The review of Coweta County property values is complete and the county Board of Assessors last week mailed assessment notices to every property owner in the county. The notices are required by law even if there has been no change to the property in the past year. Nearly 40 percent of properties will see lower valuations this year as the tax digest has decreased approximately 2 percent in value over last year.

Coweta County Public Affairs Director Patricia Palmer said the county tax assessor’s office has completed extensive studies of the real estate markets in Coweta County and as a result, has lowered the value of 21,300 parcels this year. That figure represents approximately 39 percent of parcels in the county. Not all segments of the market have felt the downturn in the economy to the same degree, Palmer said, adding that 31,312 parcels remained the same and 2,444 had increases in value.

The overall tax digest has fallen about 2 percent in 2011 and fell about 3.6 percent in 2010. The digest fell less than 1 percent between 2009 and 2010, Palmer said. The tax digest is the combined value of all properties in a city or county.

Palmer said assessment notices were mailed June 12 to all owners of taxable real estate in the county regardless of whether there has been a change to the property. Notices for business and personal property will follow within a couple of weeks, Palmer said.

“This is the second year we have been required to mail notices to all property owners, not just those with a change in value,” Palmer said. “This year about 55,000 notices will be mailed.”

Palmer said that again this year, the assessment must include an estimate of taxes based on the current assessment and last year’s millage rate.

“Property owners should remember this is just an estimate and fluctuations in the millage rate could cause the estimate to change. While this will be a very helpful tool to the property owner for budgeting purposes, the actual amount of the taxes may not be appealed,” said Palmer. “If you purchased a property in 2011 and paid less than the appraisal, the taxable value is capped at what was paid plus any improvements made after the purchase.”

A check at the Coweta County Tax Commissioner’s website, www.cowetatax.com, will show the amount of last year’s taxes, Palmer added.

“Property owners should check the information filed with the county regarding the characteristics of their property to be sure everything is correct,” said Palmer.

For property owners who believe their property may be overvalued, the last date to file an appeal will be July 27 and instructions and valid reasons for filing are listed on the notice, Palmer said.

Anyone who owns taxable property and has not received an assessment notice is encouraged to call and inquire at 770-254-2680. The notice may have an incorrect mailing address or some other easily remedied problem. Claiming that one did not receive a Notice does not extend any appeal deadlines, said Palmer.

The decline in property values and the tax digest may seem staggering, but put in perspective is may not be so bad after all. Just next door in Fayette County things turned out much worse in 2011 since Fayette’s overall digest decreased 10.39 percent .

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