Higher property assessments in Chatham County worry some homeowners

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Will the hot real estate market in 2021 mean higher property taxes in 2022?

The Chatham County Board of Assessors is currently sending out new information about property values.

“We’ve recorded almost a 15% increase so that includes residential, commercial and personal property as a whole for the county,” said Roderick Conley who is the Chief Appraiser for the Chatham County Board of Assessors.

Conley doesn’t necessarily think the increased assessments should come as a surprise.

“I think it’s pretty well documented what the market has been doing over the last couple of years. We don’t predict the market, we simply record the market,” he said. “We look at information from the prior year so for our 2022 assessments we’re actually looking at 2021

He stressed that the annual assessment notice is not a tax bill. The information, however, does include an “estimated” tax based on the current millage rate.

Jannavie Mumford received her notice a few days ago and is pretty concerned. She says a higher assessment last year did result in having to pay $1,000 more in property tax.

“Last year, the taxes went up and then this is 2022 and the estimate says it could go up another $1,000 so that is back-to-back increases,” she said.

“To have this much when we just had an increase doesn’t quite make sense. We are on a fixed income and the taxes are getting harder to pay,” Mumford said.

Conley said he understands the concerns but it is the board’s responsibility to value property at fair market value and to assess the market.

He also said that the Board of Assessors is responsible for sending out the assessment notices but that the tax bills will come later this year from the Tax Commissioner’s office.

Conley also said that millage rates will be set sometime in July by the Chatham County Board of Commissioners and the Chatham County School Board.

“The more direct impact (for property owners) will be based on what millage rate is set,” he said.

Mumford says higher taxes will not only affect homeowners but renters who often pay for higher taxes which are passed on by the landlord.

Conely says taxpayers have the right to appeal their assessment if they disagree. He says they will have 45 days from the date of assessment which was May 31 so the deadline will be July 15.

He says the easiest way may be to use the online portal, but that taxpayers can also visit the Assessor’s office in person or mail their information.

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