Lowndes Co. residents in an uproar over increased property tax
VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - Many property owners in one South Georgia county are feeling frustrated.
There has been controversy after the Lowndes County Board of Assessors sent property owners their 2023 Notice of Assessment. Something they say reflects increased values due to surges in the real estate market.
“When we first purchased this home in Lowndes County, our property tax was about $1,400 a year I believe. Now it’s at $2,800. So, it basically doubled in less than two years. And if the property tax is also creeping up, what benefit is there to actually advertise to make people actually come here?,” one Lowndes County property owner said.
“My appraised value increased by $17,078, in turn, caused my 40% assessed value to increase to $6,831. That caused my property tax to increase by $230.84 to a total of $1,950.12. During these difficult times, an increase of this size is difficult for most families to absorb,” Loren Bunte, a Lowndes County resident, said.
Most property owners are allowed to appeal their 2023 Notice of Assessment online, by mail or at the Lowndes County Board of Assessors office by June 28, 2023.
“If your property values that we have on that fair market value on the Notice of Assessment doesn’t match, sort of, what you would expect, that you would be able to buy your home for or sell your home for then you should absolutely appeal. And we welcome that feedback,” James Puckett, Lowndes County Board of Assessors board member, said.
If you’re already looking forward to tax relief next year, homeowners can apply for homestead exemptions by April 1st of each year. In 2023, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp approved a Property Tax Relief Grant for homestead properties.
“Different counties have different default homestead exemptions. And this one adds an additional $18,000 to that homestead exemption,” Puckett said.
Leaders in the community understand people’s frustrations, but they want the community to know this is due to a surge in the real estate market.
“If they want to go to the county commission to complain, or city council to complain, as is their prerogative, they can certainly do that. But they set the budget for the county. They don’t really set the fair market value,” Puckett said.
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