Richmond County Board of Assessors finds more property to tax

Chief Appraiser Alveno Ross speaks to the Augusta Commission about increases in the tax digest resulting from a new appraisal system.

As his office takes heat for long-serving board members who garner $625 in monthly compensation, Chief Appraiser Alveno Ross presented the bright side of the Board of Assessors’ work at a Tuesday Augusta Commission meeting.

 

Since implementing in 2011 a new system of assessing property values using aerial images, the office reports $2.35 million in discovered property tax and other revenue for Augusta government and Richmond County Board of Education operations, Ross told commissioners.

The new system corrected an appraisal system that had up to a 41 percent margin of error, Ross said, but doesn’t always increase the tax bill. Sixty-eight percent saw property values go up, while 8.4 percent went down.

Ross’ presentation didn’t stop Commissioner Marion Williams from grilling staff about how members of the board of assessors were appointed. Williams said he thought each super district commissioner had three appointments to the board.

Senior City Counsel Wayne Brown said he wasn’t certain that local legislation establishing the board with six members appointed by the commission and two by the legislative delegation hadn’t been affected by changes in state law, and agreed to look into the issue.

According to documents obtained by The Chronicle, with eight members Augusta has one of the largest boards inGeorgia, although its members aren’t the highest paid.

A 2013 survey by DeKalb County showed that Rich­mond County paid members less than Fulton and DeKalb counties, who garner $1,500 a month, and Cobb and Bibb, which pay $1,000 per month.

Members in Gwinnett ($400), Clayton ($500) and Chatham ($600) counties make less than Augusta members, according to the survey.

Augusta board members tend to stay on the panel for multiple terms, including one who has served since 1989.

BOARD OF ASSESSORS

Member: Year appointed

  • Renee D’Antignac: 2008
  • Charles Smith: 1999
  • Tracy E. Williams: 1989
  • James W. Scott: 2003
  • William B. Lee: 2003
  • Robert H. O’Neal: 2005
  • Bernard Johnson: 2010
  • Bryan Simkins: 2007
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