Line waiting for tax appeal hearing - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Line waiting for tax appeal hearing

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September 19, 2007

Albany -- Dozens of angry Dougherty County property owners sat for hours waiting to have their re-evaluation appeals heard Wednesday morning.

The County Board of Equalization notified 140 people their appeals would be heard at nine this morning. More than 40 property owners came,  but some had to wait six hours for their cases to be heard. A lot of unhappy faces at the Dougherty County Government Building. 

47 people waiting for their property valuation appeal to be heard by the Board of Equalization, all told their appeal would be heard at 9 AM. Marion Westmoreland said "it's just ridiculous."

Gene McCoy is one of the property owners mad that the County would notify 143 people for the same hearing time. He had plenty of time while waiting to do the math. McCoy said "if they schedule 190 people to here at 9 O-clock, and half of them show up, and each one of them gets ten minutes, that means some of us are going to have to be here 16 hours."

 Vince Herren said "naturally we're upset, because they have taken us away from our work to sit up here all day apparently, because to have this many people it's going to run late into the afternoon." And it did. Herren did not have his hearing until 3 in the afternoon. 

  Scott Piper also waited six hours to have his appeal heard. Piper said "if it had been scheduled properly, people could have had a set appointment, and could have spaced it out over 30 minutes, and people could have not had to tie up their whole day."

 But the Boards previously tried setting scheduled appointments to hear the more than five thousand appeals of property re-evaluations, but it did not work smoothly, so now they are calling property owners all at once, but have more boards to hear the appeals. County Attorney Spencer Lee said "the Grand Jury did appoint two more Boards of Equalization panels, so no we have three panels hearing the property owners appeals."

 88 year old Marion Westmoreland said between her property value skyrocketing, and her long wait, she had good reason to be mad. Westmoreland said "Now they are getting parking tickets, it's just ridiculous truly how it has been handled."

And most of the other people waiting on their appeals agreed. Many of the people waiting this morning have several property appeals to be heard by the board and will have to come back. They could not all be scheduled for one time.

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