Senate declines new property assessment - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Senate declines new property assessment

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Recognizing that homeowners are under enough financial stress, the state Senate has voted to stop any new property assessment value for the next two years.

The problem is, your property taxes may still increase.

Property values have fallen, and state leaders recognize that. That's why they want to make sure no property owners get hit with an assessment that increases the amount they'll have to pay taxes on.

"They're just saying we're going to have a moratorium because of the economic crisis and the falling values that we'll not allow counties to have any increases," said Tax Director Denver Collins-Hooten.

The intent of the bill is to keep property taxes low for homeowners, but in all actually, Hooten says, counties may be forced to raise the millage rate to compensate for lower property values.

"I just don't see how it's going to help the taxpayers ultimately," said Collins-Hooten.

The bill may also require counties to perform complete assessments which could cost taxpayers millions.

The moratorium would only run from January 2009 to January 2011. It would exempt recently sold homes, new homes or homes with new additions.

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