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County continues tax rate discussions
Two more hearings planned
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A meeting last week was the public's first of three opportunities to weigh in on the county's millage rate.

But only a few had anything to say about the proposed tax increase, as much of the conversation involved a "confusing" public notice the county is required to advertise.

"It's not clear at all," said Tamara Koperda, county resident and president of the Chestatee Homeowner's Association. "I'm in favor of fair and equitable assessments. We all understand that we have to pay for the services we get in the county and we like to have good services."

She said the confusion stems from not knowing how the county is basing its assessments and what data is being considered in those valuations.

"I know in Chestatee, many have been sitting at assessments that are way above what the recent sales could support, probably since late 2009 on," she said. "We're happy to see homes selling in our neighborhood now and we're happy to see the process increasing, but we haven't begun to catch up on the curve yet.

"So I feel like as a homeowner, we've ended up on the expensive side of the curve where they never went down and what you really did was not offset that by not increasing the millage rate."

Lisa Logan is on her second appeal to the county's board of assessors.

"It's been reassessed $100,000 more than I paid for it. It's a four bath home currently in the condition of a three bath home. The property was a foreclosure, poorly maintained," she said.

Logan also has concerns about the fire department's ability to respond to and fight fires in her lakeside neighborhood that is not equipped with fire hydrants.

"If the fire personnel doesn't have access to a tanker truck or a hydrant, how can they save a home? My house is doomed if we have a fire," she said.

According to the legal notice, the Dawson County Board of Commissioners has tentatively adopted a millage rate which will require an increase in property taxes by 8.68 percent.

Dawson County Chief Financial Officer Dena Bosten, said the county must also compute its rollback rate, which is a rate that would generate the same amount of property tax revenue as the prior year, that is submitted along with the tax digest to the department of revenue.

The tentative increase will result in a millage rate of 8.138 mills, an increase of 0.65 mills. Without this tentative tax increase, the millage rate will be no more than 7.488 mills.

"This year, that roll back rate is lower than our current millage rate, so if we don't roll the millage rate down, in theory you increase property tax," Bosten said.

The proposed tax increase for a home with a fair market value of $200,000 is about $52.64 and the proposed tax increase for non-homestead property with a fair market value of $175,000 is about $45.50.

The second public hearing will be held at 6 p.m. July 3 and a last will be held at 6 p.m. July 17, at which time the commission can adopt the millage rate. Both hearings are in the commissioners meeting room at the Dawson County Government Center, 25 Justice Way, Dawsonville.