April 25, 2016
Have you received your new property value assessment? How much did it go up this year? How much did it go up last year? How much more property tax are you paying compared to the property tax you paid in 2013? How much more are we going to have to pay this year? Even if the millage stays the same, the BOC and Board of Education will bring in more taxes because of the value increases.
Attend the candidate forum Thursday night, April 28, at 7:00PM and ask questions about these issues and more. It will be held at the Piedmont Fire Station and Community House located at the corner of Smithboro Rd. and Hwy 212 E. (This is about 7 miles from the Square.)
You can also appeal those new valuations as a way to stop property tax increases.
Here is a chart showing the past 5 years of property values, county taxes levied, and percentage increase in those taxes. (This does NOT include School taxes.)
As values went down and down during 2010-2012 on this chart, taxes were not raised and the budget was contained. Values leveled off in 2013 and started back up. But even though values have kept going up, this current BOC has also raised the millage rate giving us a double whammy in property taxes. Over the past 3 years we’ve had a 20% rise in taxes and a 25% increase in the budget.
Property values started up in 2014. The overall increase in values from 2014 to 2015 was 6%, and according to the new figures, which are reflected on our recently received assessments, values increased again another 7% for our 2016 tax bills.
Now you may be lucky. Maybe your value didn’t increase both years, or maybe your property value doubled. The 7% increase this year is the “overall average” of all the property in the county.
It seems to fall on deaf ears when talking to our Board of Commissioners or School Board members about their increasing budgets. Our commissioners in particular seem to vote to spend money on something at every meeting, and what is even worse, they have doubled the county debt over the past 2 years because instead of paying for the things they buy, they are using financing to buy more and more—including Sheriff’s cars, Public Works equipment, and even SPLOST purchases.
The current budget requests for the year starting 7/1/16 are up another one million dollars (another 10% increase).
As a last resort to get the BOC’s attention, an appeal of our property values seems to be the only thing we can do to stop the tax increases, since our BOC won’t stop increasing the budget and won’t lower the millage rate. Citizens have the right to protest their property assessments for value and/or uniformity—which means your value is different from other similar properties. You have until May 31, 2016 to file an appeal. You can file a protest by filing out this appeal form and mailing it or turning it in to the Board of Assessors.
However, the real problem is the BOC doesn’t seem to understand or care that people are being over-taxed and under-served as they continue to raise taxes by increasing the county budget and the millage rate year after year. If enough people protest their values, maybe we will get their attention to lower our taxes since they don’t seem to listen to pleas to cut waste and abuse (including theft) or anything else the citizens have to say.
The one thing everyone must do is call or email all the Commissioners and remind them that they fulfilled all the departments’ wants and needs last year. The budget should not increase again, and in fact if the Commissioners did their fiduciary duty, a reduction in taxes could be achieved and the millage rate would be lowered.
Citizens, be informed and stay informed! Only by being informed can the citizens understand what is being done and talked about, and then press our officials to make good decisions for everyone in Jasper County. That is our goal with the Taxdogs blog.