Time is short for property appeals

By Ed Brock

Time is running out for Clayton County home and business owners who want to appeal the county's Board of Assessors' assessment of their property.

The board mailed 32,000 Valuation Notices on April 23 to let the recipients know how much the county considered their homes to be worth, a value on which is based their ad valorem tax for that year. On June 7 the 45-day deadline to submit a written appeal to the assessments will pass.

Last year 1,800 people appealed the assessments, but so far this year only 360 have filed an appeal, said Rodney McDaniel, the county's chief appraiser.

"We've had a quite positive response," McDaniel said.

As for the results of the assessment, McDaniel said the value of land in general, both residential and commercial, has gone up "significantly." Meanwhile, the value of houses has essentially stabilized, seeing only a slight rise.

Stabilization could be a good thing. Along with the fact that higher property value means higher taxes, it also makes buying a house more expensive.

"When they do that it makes the payments higher," said Kent Miller, a broker with the Miller group for Remax Advantage real estate.

Higher prices aren't good for sales.

"Especially in Clayton County now with the trouble we've been having with the school board," Miller said. "This is the quietest I've seen it in Clayton County for a long time."

The county's assessment of Steven Thedford's house in Rex wasn't exactly what he expected.

"I don't think it was as high as the market value of the house," Thedford said.

Thedford plans to sell his house eventually and so rising home values aren't bad, he said, and he thinks the houses in his area are selling.

Ann Jones moved into her house in Morrow a year ago and said she thinks her assessment is fair. And the taxes in Clayton County are still much lower than Fulton County where she used to live.

"For right now, at least. We'll see what happens in the future," Jones said.

Anyone with questions about their valuation can contact the Assesor's Office between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. in the old Clayton County courthouse in downtown Jonesboro or by calling (770) 477-3285.

The board of assessors does not have the authority to extend the appeal deadline, according to McDaniel's office.