Real estate agents say turmoil could have been avoided

People furious over their massive property tax assessments are hoping for some relief in Fulton County, but does that match up with surrounding areas?

ATLANTA - People furious over their massive property tax assessments are hoping for some relief in Fulton County, but does that match up with surrounding areas?

We talked to real estate agents who say property values are skyrocketing in Fulton County and some of the huge assessments are warranted, but this type of turmoil could have been avoided.

"People are really upset. I have put out to help people with their appeals and 80 people in a week reached out to me," said real estate agent Maggie Paynich.

Paynich says these massive tax assessment increases could force people from their homes.

"We have to find a way to help those citizens survive," she said.

Paynich just bought her own home in Grant Park and says her neighbors who have lived there for 40 years can't afford a huge rate hike. She says the massive increases and appeals are specific to Fulton County.

"In Dekalb, where I lived the last couple of years, it would trickle, just maybe 60 people throughout the entire month. So people are very, very upset," Paynich said.

She says some of the surrounding counties -- Gwinnett, DeKalb and Cobb -- have increased their property tax assessments, but they've done it slowly.

Fulton County also decreased assessments dramatically when the market hit a downturn in 2009, and she says they never readjusted for that correction -- until now.

On top of all that, the chief appraiser in Fulton County was fired in 2016, throwing the whole department into disarray.

At a meeting last week, the current chief assessor told the crowd he is still trying to correct those mistakes.

Despite the skyrocketing numbers, Paynich thinks the majority of the assessments are correct by today's fair market value -- even if that is a tough pill to swallow.

"We have to make this jump at some point, so we might as well do it now, make it a little messy and move on," she said.

It's not a done deal yet though -- the county's tax assessment board will meet this Thursday at 12:30 to vote to rescind or reassess properties hit with more than a 50 percent increase.

 

© 2017 WXIA-TV


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