Originally created 06/02/06

Property value increases little



Preliminary figures show little growth in the Richmond County real-estate tax digest this year, according to Richmond County tax officials.

"Right now, it looks like zero growth over last year," said Charles Smith, the chairman of the Board of Assessors. "It does not look like there has been much appreciation over last year's growth, but keep in mind there was a lot of growth last year."

Chief Appraiser Donna T. Murray is a little more optimistic, seeing a possible 1 percent growth in the real estate digest.

Last year, revaluation of half the county's real estate brought an 11.53 percent increase in the net tax digest, which would have translated into a $2.7 million increase to fund government operations if Augusta commissioners had not decided to roll back the increase.

This year, commissioners will be hard pressed to roll back increases because of a projected $5 million budget deficit. A 1.09 mill tax increase already is part of this year's budget, and more might be coming, commissioners say.

Mr. Smith said tax officials cannot tell what effect the flat growth will have on millage because the tax digest is not complete.

"We won't know until the middle of July and appeals are in," he said.

The tax digest includes all taxable property in the county, including real estate and personal property which has not yet been calculated for this year.

This year, 25 percent of the properties in the county were reassessed, with a fair-market value increase of $415 million and a 40 percent assessed value increase of $166.3 million, according to Ms. Murray.

The fair-market value of new parcels totals $66.6 million and an assessed value of $26.6 million.

Reach Sylvia Cooper at (706) 823-3228 or sylvia.cooper@augustachronicle.com.

HOW TO APPEAL

About 17,000 assessment-change notices were mailed to property owners 10 days ago. The last day to file an appeal is July 6.

Property owners may appeal the assessments by visiting the tax assessor's office or writing the Board of Assessors at: 530 Greene St., Room 102, Augusta, GA 30911.

Include the following:

- Property address


- What you think the value should be


- Daytime phone number


You can also call the board at (706) 821-2310.