Dawson County residents, like many property owners across the state, are seeing their property tax assessments go up.
Whats driving the increase, according to local experts, are foreclosed properties being absorbed into the market and a lack of inventory.
The number of foreclosures on the market have decreased, and those foreclosures that sold in 2012 have been flipped or resold for a higher value, Chief Appraiser Kurt Tangel said. Property values have been down for years, and now theyre going back up.
Tax assessment notices were mailed last week to Dawson County residents.
And not everyones rate goes up, or down, the same amount, Tangle said.
Factors that affect the assessed value include the area, the neighborhood, the type of property and the subdivision, Tangle said. The assessed value represents the fair market value of a piece of property.
Tangle has served as Dawson Countys chief appraiser since June 2013.
Fluctuations in rates are based on the millage rate set by the Dawson County Board of Commissioners and the board of education.
Last July, the school board voted to raise its millage rate by 1.7 mills, bringing the total to 17.246, and increasing the amount of taxes people pay. At the time, the board cited a declining tax digest and rising operational costs as reasons for the increase.
The countys tax rate, however, has remained the same since 2004 -- at 25.534 mills.
The goal of our office is to set values to be fair and to be uniform and equitable with those values. We have nothing to do with the tax and how much revenue comes in, Tangel said. We have nothing to do with the board of commissioners or the school board.
Kristy Meyers is an associate broker with the North Agency in Dawson County.
Its good that property values are coming back, she said. While no one likes to pay more taxes, everyone should be glad the biggest investment of their lives is increasing in value.
In Dawson County, she said, there is a shortage of homes priced under $200,000.
In that price range, well begin to see an increase because of a lack of inventory (number of houses available for sale), she said. Until we see an increase in building, property values will continue to go up.
The impact on Dawson Countys tax digest remains to be seen.
We wont know for a while if its a net gain or a net loss until the tax digest is approved, Dawson County Commission Chair Mike Berg said. The tax digest is a compilation of all taxable property in the county.
Two years ago, the Georgia State Legislature passed a law requiring counties to include the estimated tax bill at the bottom of every tax notice.
For decades, the assessment notices looked exactly the same, and now theres the new part at the bottom, Tangel said. Its confusing for some people. It is not a bill, but an estimate of what property taxes may be when the bills go out this fall.
The tax rate, or millage, is set annually. A tax rate of one mill represents a tax liability of one dollar per thousand dollars of assessed value.