3 metro counties looking at raising property taxes

ATLANTA -- George Calloway is getting a fresh coat of paint and some money back on his property taxes. Earlier this year, when his house was assessed, he felt it was too high.

"Initially (the property taxes) went up," Calloway said, "they assessed it and it was too high so I contested it."

That resulted in a lower tax bill from last year. But don't expect that to be the norm.

In fact, three metro Atlanta counties are considering raising property taxes. In DeKalb County, where Calloway lives, the school district has proposed an increase of 6.54 percent.

In Cobb County, the Board of Commissioners announced Monday they would seek a 1.48% increase. In Fulton County, the board is set to vote next week on a 17 percent increase to close a $48 million budget shortfall.

Dr. Michael Bell, the CFO of DeKalb County Schools, gives us a partial explanation as to why many Dekalb residents may be paying higher taxes.

"The district is not taking any action to increase the rate," Bell said during a public hearing on the tax increase.

It's true that the school district in DeKalb isn't looking to increase the tax rate. But since property values across the metro area are rising by as much as 8 percent that means you'll pay more money.

"If you're home stays the same in value then you'll stay the same," Bell said.

So what does this mean to you? If your DeKalb County home is worth $150,000 you'll pay almost $70 more in property taxes. If your home is worth $250,000, you'll pay an extra $147.

In Cobb County, the proposed rate increase again based on rising property values. State law requires the Cobb County board to hold three public hearings which will start next Monday.

How much more you'll pay really depends how much your property value increases. And remember, if you disagree with your assessment you can always try to do what George Calloway did and appeal your appraisal.

"If it's too high, just contest it. And pay attention," Calloway said.


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