FULTON COUNTY, Ga. -- A loophole could save Fulton County homeowners thousands of dollars.
11Alive News was the first media outlet to report property assessments went up dramatically for the majority of Fulton County homeowners. For some, it was an increase of more than 200 percent. That meant that many homeowners would be expected to pay a lot more in taxes. For some, that could amount to pay thousands of dollars more.
On Monday, Fulton County Commission Chair John Eaves said commissioners plan to use a little-known provision dating back to the county's formation in 1880s that allows the Board of Commissioners to change or correct the tax digest.
"That's what we're doing now," Eaves told 11Alive on Monday. "We feel that we have legal authority to do that."
Fulton County attorney Patrise Hooker confirmed the legality of the plan, which allow commissioners to go through the 2017 tax digest and correct mistakes by utilizing 2016 numbers.
If the law is enacted, Fulton County residents would receive new assessments in the mail sometime in the next month.
This year, more than half of homeowners saw their assessments rise 20 percent or more. In a map (shown below) released by the Chief Appraiser of Fulton County, Dwight Robinson, you can see the biggest assessment increases in red. Homes in those areas received increases of 50 percent or more.
Fulton Tax Revolt: Property assessment maps
“The 2016 digest, we did not do a residential review for 2016 so we have had to play catch up,” Robinson previously said. “So those increases represent not just 1 year. It represents 2 or 3 years when nothing was done.”The 22-year-old student has died less than a week after being released by North Korea.
Robinson said he was notified by the Department of Revenue that the county faced steep fines if it did not begin assessing properties at their real-life value. By law, the county must assess properties between 90-110 percent of their actual market value. Fulton County was assessing its properties, on average, at a rate of 79% of market value.
Eaves and the Board of Commissioners have been working with their legal team since a Board of Assessors meeting last Thursday that provided little relief to concerned homeowners. Now, they believe this loophole is the answer they've been looking for.
The Board of Commissioners is expected to unanimously pass the law during a meeting on Wednesday.