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Property tax appraisals spark outcry
by Bobby Tedder
btedder@neighbornewspapers.com
June 27, 2012 12:08 PM | 1303 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Residents of the Brookhaven Gardens subdivision are decrying substantive spikes in their 2012 property appraisals.

“We’ve had discussions and have shared our tax bills with each other … there is a lot of anger in the neighborhood over it,” Brookhaven Gardens resident Andy Peters said.

Peters’ assessment went up $57,000, or 10 percent, from last year.

“It’s just unbelievable … one of my neighbor’s went up $190,000 and it’s not even the biggest house in the neighborhood,” said Peters, a real estate agent.

DeKalb chief appraiser Calvin Hicks said the latest appraisals do not represent a single-year bump.

Until this year, the state had frozen assessments for the past four years — thus, maintaining home values at 2008 levels. As a result, some homeowners have seen four years worth of appreciation.

“We’ve been under a moratorium and couldn’t reflect any appreciation in four years,” Hicks said.

Peters and the subdivision’s other 50 or so homeowners say the county’s math still does not add up.

“According to DeKalb County, the assessments are based off comparable sales … we don’t understand how they came up with these numbers,” Peters said.

Another point of contention for residents is the county’s handling of a similar situation in the North Lake area, he said.

“DeKalb County admitted making mistakes and have gone back to reduce those assessments … it should be obvious that they got it wrong here,” said Peters. “We want somebody to take ownership and make it right … instead, the only answer we get is, ‘Appeal your taxes.’’’

Hicks acknowledged that his office had identified areas of concern where possibly problematic notices were sent — the red flags either raised by it or affected property owners — and has since made a “number of revisions.”

“Yes, we have discovered some areas that need to be reviewed and we’ve revised those parcels,” Hicks said. “Those [only] account for two to three percent of the total parcels we sent notices on.”

Assessment notices were sent out May 29. Of the 230,000 distributed county-wide, DeKalb had only received about 5,000 appeals as of last week, Hicks said.

“You don’t have a [tax] digest that doesn’t have some errors,” Hicks said. “But, you have the right to initiate an appeal — there’s a process in place. We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel here.”

Residents have until July 13 to appeal their assessment.
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