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Proof of Hall’s growth? Look no further than total property assessments, which hit new record
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New home construction in the the Park Haven subdivision in South Hall. - photo by Scott Rogers

Hall County’s growth from new developments and an ongoing rise in property values can be seen in Hall’s 2021 tax digest, which has topped $10 billion for the first time.

The digest, or list of taxable properties, grew by $717 million since 2020, its largest amount since 2007, when the digest grew by nearly $1.1 billion, according to Hall County records.

That growth in 2007 was just before the 2007-09 Great Recession, when housing values plummeted. The digest amount went from $7 billion in 2009 to nearly $6 billion in 2013, when it began to rebound.

The digest is more than a document of the county’s growth — or lack thereof. It also serves as a tool for governments to levy taxes, a process that is happening now, as the budget year for most local governments starts July 1.

Under current tax rates, revenues are growing because of the larger tax rolls. Largely fueling the growth in the digest is new development and higher property values.

When that growth happens, a rollback rate is set, or a rate at which a government would net the same amount of revenue as the previous year.

Tax digest history

Here’s a look at Hall County’s list of taxable properties:

  • 2021: $10 billion before appeals, with appeals deadline set June 21
  • 2020: $9.3 billion before appeals; $9.2 billion, after appeals
  • 2019: $8.65 billion before appeals; $8.62 billion, after appeals
  • 2018: $8 billion before appeals; $7.9 billion, after appeals
  • 2017: $7.3 billion before appeals; $7.25 billion, after appeals

Source: Hall County Tax Assessors Office

In Hall County’s case, for example, the current rate is 4.853 mills, with 1 mill equal to $1 for each $1,000 in assessed property value. The proposed rollback rate is 4.636 mills, with Hall County presenting its fiscal 2022 budget before the Hall County Board of Commissioners at a meeting Thursday, June 10.

If a government proposes a tax rate above the rollback rate, it has to hold three public meetings, per state law.

That’s the case in Flowery Branch, which is proposing to keep its tax rate at 3.264 mills. Flowery Branch is holding public meetings Thursday and June 17.

Flowery Branch residents who saw property values increase would see a jump in taxes. Likewise, those who saw no change in values wouldn’t see a tax increase and those who saw values drop would see a reduction in taxes.

In Hall County, residents who saw no change in values or values drop would see a reduction in taxes.

Depending on the increase in property values, some residents who saw values increase could also see taxes at least stay the same, if not drop, while others will see taxes rise — but not as high if the rollback rate is adopted.

“If your valuation goes up more than what the millage rate is offset, (a tax increase) is going to happen,” Hall County Chief Appraiser Steve Watson said.

The Hall Tax Assessors Office’s “goal is not to increase taxes,” he said. “Our goal is to make sure valuations are where they’re supposed to be.”

The digest amount typically drops every year because of appeals, so it remains to be seen whether the $10 billion figure will stick.

Hall County mailed out property assessments on May 7, so homeowners should know their values. The average increase on residential property was 6.36%.

Residents have 45 days, or until June 21, to appeal their assessment.

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