A 2009 bill that froze property tax assessments in Georgia has expired, but area residents shouldn't expect a shock when assessment notices arrive soon in the mail.
Because of the sluggish housing market, property values -- and property tax assessments -- are flat in Northwest Georgia, appraisers say.
"For most people, it will remain about the same," Catoosa County Chief Assessor Dale McCurdy said, referring to property assessments that his office plans to send in mid-June to owners of Catoosa's about 28,000 tax parcels.
The Walker County Tax Assessor's Office plans to send out assessment notices by mid-June to roughly 34,000 parcel owners.
"We do have some areas where the values are dropping a little bit," Chief Appraiser Terry Gilreath said. "There's other areas that are doing really well."
"Overall, we're just really holding our own," Gilreath said.
To appraise property values, McCurdy and Gilreath monitor things such as home sales and foreclosures.
"It's a little bit of an art and probably more of a science," McCurdy said.
Gilreath said, "It's all dictated by state law. We don't make this stuff up."
Whitfield County expects to send out notices by mid-June to about 40,000 property owners.
"I don't think there'll be any significant changes," Chief Appraiser Trammell Suddeth said.
Dade County already has sent out notices to owners of its 9,800 parcels.
"Our values have held pretty steady," Chief Appraiser Paula Duvall said.
Property owners have 45 days to appeal their assessments.
"Last year, we sent out 34,000 notices and 650 appealed," Gilreath said, which is an appeal rate just under 2 percent.
Catoosa typically gets 200 to 400 appeals, McCurdy said, or under 1.4 percent. Dade had 350 to 400 appeals last year, Duvall said, about a 4 percent appeal rate. Whitfield had about 800 appeals last year, Suddeth said, or a 2 percent appeal rate.
Tim Omarzu covers education for the Times Free Press. Omarzu is a longtime journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor at daily and weekly newspapers in Michigan, Nevada and California.