Property tax grant sill in limbo - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Property tax grant sill in limbo

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

September 3, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - There's still no clear answer to if the Homeowner tax relief grant will remain in place for property owners in Georgia. Governor Perdue froze the grant in order to reduce a $1.6 Billion budget deficit.

The Dougherty County tax office plans to send out tax bills in about two weeks. For those of you with homestead exemption, you'll also get a green slip like this in your bill, a warning to be prepared to pay even more.

It's a game of limbo, keeping property owners up in the air. "We're expecting the legislature to take it up in January. It could be as late as March before we know." says Dougherty County Commission Chairman Jeff Sinyard.

Know if you'll be expected to pay back a property tax credit from the state.

That's three months after property taxes are due, means you may have to send another check to the county for the difference once state legislators make their decision.

"Essentially, it just states that the credit you're receiving on your tax bill, all the homeowners, that if this does not come to fruition, if they do dishonor their commitment to make that credit to the counties, then we will, in turn, have to bill the homeowner for that credit," said Tax Director Denver Collins-Hooten.

Although many state legislators have said they won't allow the Governor to freeze the money, a special session hasn't been scheduled.

"Obviously with a billion six deficit, they've got some very difficult decisions," said Sinyard.

While the grant only impacts people with homestead exemption, your county homestead exemption will still apply.

If the general assembly doesn't take action, homeowners in Dougherty County would have to repay the county a little over $300.

By freezing the grants, it frees up $428 million, about a quarter of the deficit. The home owner grant money effects property owners in every county of the state.

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