Dawson -- Eighty two-year-old Jean Stricklane has been living in her home in Dawson for over 50 years. "We built it," she said. "I lived here with my husband and raised two children here."
Her husband, a World War II veteran, died two years ago, and times have been tough. "You have to try to hold down what you can in your budget, so you can pay your bills. And I prefer to stay in my home as long as I can," said Stricklane.
But her recent property assessment is making it harder for her. The last appraisal valued her home at about $52,000; now Terrell County claims it's worth almost $76,000. "I was expecting it, and it went up some. I wasn't ready for it to go up any, since I live alone and have a fixed income and all," said Stricklane.
Terrell County residents got their property assessments in the mail. And though some saw little change, others were unhappy with what they found. "We've sent out 5,025 property assessments, and we have probably gotten 20 appeals so far," said chief appraiser for Terrell County, Darlene Paul.
The millage rate increased about 10 percent since 2002. "The millage rate at that time was 26.08 and in 2006 was 34.78. Our millage rate this year has not been set yet," said Paul.
This year's rate will be set once Terrell County's budget is finalized. "And then they figure their millage rate when they say how many dollars it takes to operate the county," said Paul.
And it's the millage rate that determines how much residents pay in taxes. But Terrell County property owners who think the assessment is off have 45 days to appeal. "I certainly don't think I can sell the house for what they are saying it's worth," said Stricklane.
Terrell County wants their residents to know that if they think the assessment is wrong; they should come by to discuss it. "There may be something about their home that we need to know about. We did not visit each site. We took the information from the year before and the site schedule there may be some reason that we need to look at this particular property," said Paul.
Property assessment appeals do need to be in writing. The form is available in the Terrell County Assessors Office at 125 Jefferson St. Residents have 45 days to complete and submit it.