Well, it happened, just as predicted. Lake property owners in Hall County (there’s about 7,000 of us) got zapped with property re-evaluations that, in many cases, doubled and in some cases went even more.
Basically, a tax assessor (an outside contractor from GMASS) did an exterior measurement of your house, checked for a boat dock, filled out a report and left. So how many square feet were considered in their calculations? Was your unfinished basement or attic space included? Does your property abut the Corps or is it lakefront? Is your property steep? Do you have a lake view? What are the comps in this area? They are certainly not the same as lake values below Browns Bridge.
These and many other factors come into play when evaluating a piece of lake property. These assessors were paid about $50 per property under the GMASS contract. There is no way a proper evaluation can be made at that price. County officials claim the average increase is 39 percent. That’s bull; I have yet to hear of anyone with less than 50 percent and most are 100 percent!
This means, of course, your taxes will double provided the millage rate stays the same. And I don’t expect the millage rate to be reduced enough to make any real difference because there are 70,000 other-than-lake properties in the Hall County tax digest that would be affected.
Oh, and one last thing: I thought boat docks were “personal property” not subject to real estate taxes. The value of your dock was bundled in with the value of your property, so there is no way to know how much of the assessment was your dock. If you got zapped, you need to file a written appeal now. After 45 days, you will lose your right to appeal. Forms are available at the tax office or online.
Stay informed. I have set up a Facebook group called “Hall County Lake Properties Tax Increase.” Go to Facebook.com, log in, search for “Hall County Lake Properties Tax Increase” and participate in the discussion if you like, or just monitor the goings-on. This is where you can find the latest information posted relative to Hall County lake properties.