Changes to Augusta tax digest OK'd

There is no huge break for property owners coming from Augusta's tax digest. Neither does the digest now under consideration reflect the huge drops seen in metro Atlanta counties such as DeKalb, where a steep decline in property values is driving a proposed property tax increase.


On Monday, the Richmond County Board of Assessors agreed to about $11 million in decreases to the total value of business, industrial and personal property such as boats and planes.

Among the largest single losses was that of a multimillion-dollar jet formerly housed in Augusta by Electrolux, said Melanie Oglesby, the deputy chief appraiser for personal property. The company moved its corporate headquarters from Augusta last year.

Cushioning the decreases, however, is Augusta's addition of about $153 million in new or higher-valued real estate coming onto the digest, Chief Appraiser Alveno Ross said. The board approved the real estate revaluations last month.

The digest, or total value of all property in the county for tax purposes, can't be completed until the value of vehicles collected by the tax commissioner is added in. Only then, after exempted property is removed, can elected officials determine the tax rate to apply.

A recent state-mandated countywide reassessment of all 81,303 parcels of real estate saw just a 6 percent decline in value, with 87 percent of properties remaining unchanged.

Since the tax notices went out, appeals have been filed on 279 parcels, leaving $21.2 million of their value in dispute.

Will Augusta see a higher digest this year?

"By the hair of my chinny-chin-chin," Ross said, although he said he doubted that the increase would be anything significant.

The value of Augusta's tax digest grew by 6 percent in 2006 and 5 percent in 2007, then shrunk by 0.35 percent in 2008.

Growth that added $51.3 million to the 2009 digest prompted the Augusta Commission to roll back the tax rate last year by 0.1 percent.

The millage is multiplied by a property's taxable value, usually 40 percent, to calculate taxes owed. About 60 percent of the taxes collected go toward the operation of Richmond County schools.