"We have some preliminary reports on the digest. It does appear that the overall [maintenance and operations] digest will increase this year. We had originally thought that we might have a decrease, but it looks like we will be adding almost a half billion dollars to the digest this year, that we were originally not counting on," he said during a tax digest report.
The figure is about $564 million in 40 percent assessed value, Fitzgibbon said, using up-to-the-minute calculations.
"It’s better than a decrease, of course, which we were expecting. We think it’s better than a decrease which we were expecting until a few minutes ago," he said.
Even more funds may be anticipated, Fitzgibbon said.
"We still haven’t taken the homestead audit, which we think will take some more of the exemptions off when that’s completely done," he said.
Getting updated information to property owners will not be a problem, he said.
"We expect to mail 333 change-of-assessment notices on June 15," Fitzgibbon said. "We don’t see any problem with meeting that date and that deadline."
Commissioner Tom Lowe said there is "a lot of residential building going on" in north Fulton, which Fitzgibbon said will be reflected in the next fiscal year.
"Please keep in mind that Jan. 1 is our appraisal day, so anything that happened after Jan. 1, we cannot put on till next year. Most of the increase, the activity we have seen in the marketplace, has occurred after the first of the year.," Fitzgibbon said. "They won’t start paying till next year. Because we can’t assess it if it wasn’t there on Jan. 1."
He said he was optimistic about the future tax digest -- the assessment of all real estate and tangible personal property subject to taxation -- based on the projected revenue and other benchmarks.
"[Fiscal] 2014 does look like it’ll be a good year," Fitzgibbon said. "We think the digest, overall, is really good. We think the value is good. We think our staff’s done an outstanding job of adding some improvements that we missed before for this tax year, and have done a pretty good job of getting the digest ready to go."
Lowe asked about the number of appeals.
"We expect that our appeals will be down, if the other counties that have mailed notices have been receiving appeals is any indication," Fitzgibbon said. "We’re hoping to get under 20,000 appeals this year. Even in a good year, we expect we’ll get 8 to 10 percent, but we’re hoping for that. Based on what we’ve seen in some other counties around the metro area, none of them are having the level of appeals they had in the past. We certainly think that our values are better and we hope that the public looks at that and files fewer frivolous appeals, that we think in some cases. We think we’ll be able to move those through quicker as well."
Fiscal 2013 ends Dec. 31.