Property assessments surge

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After several years of sluggish growth, the 2007 Richmond County gross tax digest increased 6 percent, or $275.8 million, according to the county's chief tax appraiser.

That means the Augusta Commission will have to decide whether to roll back the property tax rate or leave the rate as it is and determine how to spend an additional $2 million. In either case, the commission will have more tax money to spend.

The assessed (40 percent) value of taxable property in Richmond County rose from $4.59 billion last year to $4.86 billion this year, according to Chief Appraiser Calvin Hicks.

"Gentlemen, that's good," Mr. Hicks said after presenting preliminary digest figures to the assessors' board Monday.

The real estate digest increased by $82.3 million in noninflationary growth, Mr. Hicks said.

"They actually will be able to collect new taxes on that, and that helps to offset the cost of government," he said. "And there was a $54 million increase in personal property and a $29 million increase in motor vehicles. Very good. A very good year."

Jerry Brigham, the commission's Finance Committee chairman, agreed.

"I'm excited over the increases," he said. "A lot of good things must be happening in Augusta."

The increase means city commissioners will receive $33.01 million in property taxes this year, compared with $31.9 million last year, if they roll back the tax rate to account for inflationary growth and $33.85 million if they don't. But if they don't roll back the tax rate, they must give public notice and hold three public hearings.

Mr. Brigham said he expected a rollback, but City Administrator Fred Russell was less enthusiastic about a possible rollback of the increase that already is in the city budget or the inflationary increase. He noted that the last time the commission rolled back the rate, the city ended up $3 million in the red.

This year's city budget includes a 0.34-mill tax increase that will add about $9 a year onto the property tax bill for a $100,000 house with homestead exemption.

The Richmond County school board's net digest, which has not been completed, will differ from the city's because of different exemptions, Mr. Hicks said.

Assessors Board Chairman Charles Smith attributed this year's growth to better assessing.

"One of the things that has been done is there have been a few more techniques that have been implemented that would allow us to value various properties differently, more correctly, more accurately, more uniformly," he said.

"For example, mobile homes were being valued a certain way, but there is a more uniform standard for mobile homes that determines the values, just as the Blue Book for automobiles. That was introduced here, so that made a difference."

The staff also is getting out of the office to do more inspections, Mr. Smith said.

He attributed the growth and fewer appeals this year to Mr. Hicks' leadership.

The assessors' board also approved the 2007 assessment change notices for personal property Monday. The notices will be mailed June 15.

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

INCREASING TAX DIGEST


Richmond County Maintenance and Operations tax Digest, 2006-07: (40 percent values)

2006 2007
Real property $3.26 billion $3.45 billion
Personal property $994.9 million $1.05 million
Motor vehicles $302 million $331.2 million
Mobile homes $25.5 million $29.1 million
Timber $1.98 million $1.68 million
Heavy-duty equipment $83,573 $255,020
Gross Digest $4.59 billion $4.86 billion
Exemptions $543.8 million $575.4 million
Net digest $4.04 billion $4.28 billion

Source: Richmond County Tax Assessor's Office

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Rozzie2003
5
Points
Rozzie2003 06/12/07 - 08:19 am
0
0
Great job the new chief

Great job the new chief appraiser has done.
We need more talented people in local government.

carbog
0
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carbog 06/12/07 - 08:20 am
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Yeah, Mr. Hicks.. I

Yeah, Mr. Hicks.. I throughly enjoy the harassment from your office during the appeal process. I know exactly how you gained more for the tax digest. You simply over appraised property! It's great to see that my property value can increase by $67,000 in two years! It sounds like I live in the D.C area vs. Richmond County.

hmm
0
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hmm 06/12/07 - 08:30 am
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I think there must be a

I think there must be a mistake. I'm almost positive that personal property taxes did not drop from 994.9 million to 1.05 million.

concernednative
28
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concernednative 06/12/07 - 09:02 am
0
0
They should spend the extra

They should spend the extra money they should pay off debt or put in a high yielding account.

Spurs07
1
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Spurs07 06/12/07 - 09:06 am
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Augusta-Richmond County is

Augusta-Richmond County is ridiculous
They need to rollback the tax cuts and stop over appraising property. The citizens deserve a cut in property taxes

Augusta Mom
1
Points
Augusta Mom 06/12/07 - 09:21 am
0
0
Yeah...great job Mr. Hicks!

Yeah...great job Mr. Hicks! The reason you don't show many appeals is that property owners have discovered it's a waste of time to even bother. Explain to me why a county employee next door with twice the yard and almost twice the size of the home has his property valued $25,000 less than my little 2 bedroom home. They even added a 4th bedroom and covered sitting area and a sun porch 2 years ago (all with no Building Permit) and his taxes were not increased. And you ask why people are moving OUT of Augusta....take a guess! If my home was not so "over-valued" by the tax office I could sell and move to Aiken County or Columbia County.

Casting_Fool
1133
Points
Casting_Fool 06/12/07 - 10:00 am
0
0
I got the tax bill for my

I got the tax bill for my mobile home this year and was surprised that it's value went up, something like $2000.00 or so. I got a copy of the same software that they used (N.A.D.A. Manufactured Housing Appraisal CD-ROM) and when I ran the report on my home it came out at a lesser value. I spoke with a number of mobile home owners and found that some homes were revalued at more than $5000.00 over their value in 2006. And these were older mobile homes. Some of their bills used correct data on the homes, but some did not. Mobile homes, "manufactured houses" have two sizes. The "call size" includes the hitch. The "floor size" is the literal measured size of the floor. For example, my home is a 14' x 70' (call size), but is supposed to be calculated in the N.A.D.A. software using 14' x 66' (floor size). I'm puzzled why they used 14' x 72' for my home. You're not supposed to include the length of the hitch in the calculations, and on most homes that's about 4'. So calculating it like they did adds 50 to 80 taxable square feet to a home. Make sure the county has the right data on your mobile home.

hr69
13
Points
hr69 06/12/07 - 10:09 am
0
0
now if the county could just

now if the county could just get Commisioner Williams and all the other deliquent property owners to actually pay their taxes, Richmond Co. could see the benefit of this report.

pimpernell
94
Points
pimpernell 06/12/07 - 11:34 am
0
0
"SLUGGISH GROWTH" is an

"SLUGGISH GROWTH" is an euphemis for mass white flight to Columbia County. People are fed up with the dictatorship of Chairman Marion and the GANG OF 5. Indeed, a Cultural Revolution is well under way replete with mass migration to points west and north. This exodus has spawned the so called"sluggish growth" of today front page which has resulted in the obligatory tax digest upward adjustments. Before long the only thing upscale in Richmond County will be the tax assesments. Those whose primary occupation is "Public Assistance Recipient" should take note. Taxpayers already have.

Augusta Mom
1
Points
Augusta Mom 06/12/07 - 01:04 pm
0
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I agree, Pimpernell! And I

I agree, Pimpernell! And I cannot understand why no one has made Marion Williams and other commissioners actually pay their property taxes. Are they afraid of him???? If it were me, I'd been living on the street and my home sold........

iletuknow
8
Points
iletuknow 06/12/07 - 01:26 pm
0
0
Give the money back to the

Give the money back to the property owners in reduced taxes so it is not wasted or stolen.

BakersfieldCityLimits
1
Points
BakersfieldCityLimits 06/12/07 - 08:11 pm
0
0
Augusta-Richmond County is a

Augusta-Richmond County is a sinking ship. I think we should build a drag strip with the extra money, that will solve all our problems.

VoteRepublican
0
Points
VoteRepublican 06/12/07 - 10:42 pm
0
0
How about some side walks for

How about some side walks for the soldiers and Masters patrons along Washington Rd (just north and south of I-20) before someone is run over by a car...??? The world's biggest golf tournament is held here every year and the golf patrons have no walk way along this heavily traveled road. Meanwhile, in Columbia county there are sidewalks all along Washington Rd...go figure!

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