A total property tax revaluation, in which the value all of the county's approximately 15,000 parcels of real property will be assessed, is scheduled to begin soon.
Approved last week by the Dawson County Board of Commissioners, the $588,300 project cost will come from funds from GEMA, the Georgia Emergency Management Association, that the county received as reimbursement this year due to storm damage a few years ago.
Currently the county has about 15,000 parcels, with 200 prebuilt mobile homes, 1,800 commercial or industrial buildings and 12,000 residential homes. The study will completely reevaluate the property values of the commercial, industrial, residential and agricultural parcels in the county.
The purpose of the revaluation, according to Chief Appraiser Kurt Tangel, is not to increase county revenue but "to ensure equity and uniformity of assessment."
Tangel further explained that the goal is to make sure every property is at the same level of assessment so that no one person is paying a higher percentage of taxes than another based on the type of property they have.
The county only received one bid for the work, a proposal from GMASS, or Georgia Mass Appraisal Solutions & Services. The board voted on May 18 to award the contract to GMASS.
This will be the county's first total revaluation and equalization project to be completed through a contracted company, according to Tangel.
The last time a total revaluation was completed was 2006, and even then county staff relied on data from 2002 to conduct the work.
With the growth that the county has seen and the length of time since the last total assessment, Tangel strongly recommended the county look outside for help from GMASS, which has completed similar projects in Gilmer and Hall counties.
"Since 2014 we have doubled the amount of homes built in the county and the staff that we have is trying to keep up with what we have currently...I don't have the number of staff [or] staff with that level of knowledge that I could rely on to do all of those things," Tangel said. "And just as I mentioned earlier, the level of the work done in 2002 or 2006 was not done to this level...I'm not comfortable with relying on information from four to five years earlier and depending on that information to be necessarily true to value everyone at the same time."
The work will be completed in two phases, with residential and agricultural property evaluated first and commercial and industrial second. 270 days are allotted for each phase. Site visits will be conducted for each property.