Assessment increases

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 12, 1999

property taxes


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Published Sept. 12, 1999

This year’s tax increase on much of Pike County property was due to a new property assessment that was done for the first time in five years.

According to Pike County Revenue Commissioner Curtis Blair, the state only requires that property be assessed every five year. That means that value of assessed property could have changed a lot in that time.

"This year, we saw an average increase of 21 percent," Blair said. "This doesn’t mean that the average property value increased that much. It means that due to growth, additional construction and a variety of other factors, the county will collect about 21 percent more in taxes than it did last year."

This year, Pike County property owners will pay $4.8 million in taxes, with nearly $852,000 going to the state.

The remainder of the taxes will go to the county, the various municipalities in the county and the schools, Blair said.

Property that increased in value included land along the Highway 231 bypass area.

"There was a jump there," Blair said.

Blair attributes the increase to inflation, new development and growth and a variety of other factors.

"Looking at this, there’s about a 4 percent per year increase," Blair said. "That doesn’t seem to be out of line."

Pike County reassesses property every five years as is required by the state. Blair said the county could opt to reassess property more often – every year or two years – but would face a manpower shortage by attempting to do it.

"We have an appraiser who does this and it’s a full-time job," Blair said. "We get some help from the state when we go through this process, but trying to do it annually could be a real burden on the smaller counties."

Montgomery County appraises property annually as part of a pilot program initiated by the state, Blair said.

"The Legislature would like to see all counties do it annually, but there has been no law to that affect," he said.

Taxes are assessed based on property value and class, Blair said, with homeowners paying taxes at 10 percent and commercial property owners paying at 20 percent.

Property were utilities are located pay a 30 percent rate.

Total millage collected in Pike County’s non-municipal districts is 28.95, while municipalities fall in the 36.95 bracket.

Blair said one mill represents one-tenth of one percent of total value of the property.

Of that total, 6.5 mills goes to the state into three funds, the general fund, the soldier fund and the state school fund.

The county collects 8.5 mills for its general fund and 4.25 mills for the road and bridge fund. City schools claim four mills while county schools claim 3 mills.

To offset the higher cost to residents within the city school district – primarily Troy – the city of Troy collects seven mills while Brundidge, Banks and Goshen collect eight mills.

Blair put the figures in perspective.

"A person owning a home worth $100,000 would pay $3,695 in taxes in one of the municipalities or $2,895 in the county," he said. "This is pretty low compared to other counties in the area."

This year, more than $1.5 million will go to the county’s schools.

Blair said that though property has been assessed for more money, taxpayers of Pike County have not faced a millage increase since he took office in 1979.

Property assessments are based on market value, a figure determined by an assessor. Once assessed, property owners are notified of the cost of the rate of taxation and have 10 days to appeal the assessment before it becomes permanent.

Blair said some property was adjusted after the initial assessments.

"There are always things that need to be adjusted after an assessment," he said. "But we discuss these issues with the property owners and work out a value that is consistent with the market value."