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Decatur Mayor: 1,500 Properties To Be Reassessed

He advises waiting until July 2 to file an appeal with DeKalb County.

 

Decatur Mayor Bill Floyd and City Manager Peggy Merriss sent this message to Decatur Patch and other media outlets about DeKalb County property tax assessments.

because their estimated home value for tax purposes went up sharply.

The summary of the mayor's letter: The county is going to adjust the value of about 1,500 properties in Decatur. Problems occurred because the county used two different software programs. Residents are advised to wait until July 2 to file an appeal because they may receive a revised notice.

Here's what the mayor said.

The city manager and I met with several people from the tax appraiser’s office on June 5, 2012. The following information was given to us at that time.
1. There are 30 properties that were identified last week with errors. These will be submitted to the BOA for adjustment at their meeting on June 7th. Revised appraisals will be mailed after the meeting. Property owners will have 45 days from the date of the revised notice to file an appeal.
2. The appraisers office has identified an additional 1500 properties in the city that are being adjusted for any of several reasons
3. The list of 1500 will be submitted to he BOA at their meeting on June 21st for approval
4. If approved , these revised notices will be sent out the week of June 25th.
5. Current appeal deadline is July 13th.
6. If you receive an adjusted notice, it restarts the clock and you have another 45 days to appeal

Their Recommendation:
1. Wait until July 2nd to appeal to see if you get a revised notice.
2. If by that date you have not received a revised assessment, you are probably not going to get one and you have until July 13th to file an appeal
3. If you have received a revised assessment and it is a satisfactory amount you will not need to appeal. If you receive a revised assessment and are not satisfied, you have 45 days from the new notice to appeal.

Comments:
1. The appraisers are attempting to adjust land values to more realistic(their words not ours) levels based on market conditions.
2. You can appeal based on land value, house value or both
3. The problems are due in part to a software transition they have been under going for about a year. They are currently operating under two systems. Our appraisals are under the old system that is difficult to manipulate for older more mature communities with varying housing types, styles and ages. Transition is expected to be complete before next year ‘s appraisals.
4. DeKalb County Tax Appraisers office under a tremendous work load now. If you receive an adjusted notice that is acceptable and do not appeal rather than filing an appeal and withdrawing do to a satisfactory adjustment, it will help those who do appeal receive a quicker response.

Our anticipation is that of the 1500 adjustments about ½ will go up and ½ will come down. Some will be satisfied and some not. Our insistence with the appraiser’s office is that all get a fair appraisal.

They also do not use geographic definitions for neighborhoods in places like the City of Decatur because of the varying types, ages ,conditions and level of renovations of the housing stock. For example – a house built in the 1930’s that is still a 3 bedroom 1 bath, 1100sf that has never been significantly improved is in an “Effective Age” neighborhood with other similar construction types regardless of the geographic neighborhood (Oakhurst, Winnona Park, Great Lakes); a 1930’s house that has been significantly renovated – added a second floor or new master suites, would be in a different “Effective Age” neighborhood; and a new house that replaced a demolished 1930’s house would be in a different “Effective Age” neighborhood. Ultimately they want to be using a depreciation type valuation system that provides a reasonable fair market standard value for land and an economic life value for the building and any improvements. This is the system they are trying to transition to but have been hampered in making it work because of the dual software systems.

David D June 07, 2012 at 02:51 PM
Well, I appreciate their opinions, but I'm not at all going to assume that DeKalb County will do any better job second time around. Believe whom you wish to believe - but I'm not going to listen to someone tell me to hold my appeal and cross my fingers that my property is one of the 1500 to be reassessed. The Mayor is soooo wrong to even suggest someone wait to file an appeal on a gamble. That's inappropriate advice and I hope his constiuency remembers that when election time comes.
Decaturette June 07, 2012 at 03:40 PM
Notice that the Mayor did not make the suggestion to wait--that was "Their Recommendation". I'm sure the Mayor has a fine line to walk--he has to advocate for his constituents without being so threatening to the County that they do not talk to him. I think it's great that the Mayor and City Manager have elevated this issue which helps keep it in the eye of the media which helps keep a spotlight on the County's response. Fewer bad things happen in the broad daylight. I'm not happy about the County's recommendation but I do not blame the Mayor at all.
Decatur resident June 07, 2012 at 04:27 PM
I don't think it was a mistake agree with David D on this one. We own one of the 1500 parcels in question and did not plan on waiting to file the appeal. BTW Decatur Mom... a recommendation is a suggestion. I certainly don’t believe that is was an "error" in the software. Why in the world would the city or county have two different software applications that obviously do not talk to each other, to access property taxes? I think it was so that they would have something to blame it on if someone has a legitimate appeal.
Decatur Resident June 07, 2012 at 04:28 PM
I don't think it was a mistake agree with David D on this one. We own one of the 1500 parcels in question and did not plan on waiting to file the appeal. BTW Decatur Mom... a recommendation is a suggestion. I certainly don’t believe that is was an "error" in the software. Why in the world would the city or county have two different software applications that obviously do not talk to each other, to access property taxes? I think it was so that they would have something to blame it on if someone has a legitimate appeal.
Decaturette June 07, 2012 at 06:34 PM
I don't think my comment was clear enough. "Their Recommendation" was the Mayor referring to the County's recommendations that, I believe, the Mayor was transmitting to his constituents, not necessarily making himself. In fact, the Mayor has no power in this matter, just a role as facilitator. I appreciate his facilitation because I believe we would have heard even less by now from the Country without the intercession of the Mayor and City Manager. The Tax Commissoner has no obligation to respond to us. So facilitation by the City and embarrassment by the media are useful tools to elicit a response.

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