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Appeals drop off for tax assessment notices
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Forsyth County News

Appeals are still trickling in from homeowners who think their property is worth less than the county does.

"We’re still counting," said Chief Tax Appraiser Mary Kirkpatrick. "The estimate right now may be about 3,500 … but we won’t have a number until probably the middle of [this] week."

Last year, the assessor’s office received more than 5,000 appeals.

But Kirkpatrick said she is not surprised to see that number go down. Nearly 66,000 of the 77,500 notices that went out this spring showed a drop in property value.

"I think somewhere between the reductions and the reality that now folks get that one-year sale price assessment … they’re not going to complain this year," Kirkpatrick said.

In previous years, tax assessment notices were sent only to those whose property values had changed. This year, however, a new state law mandated that assessors send a notice to every homeowner.

While homeowners may be more pleased with a drop in value, the reductions translate to some difficult budget decisions for the county government and school system, which both rely on property taxes to operate.

Kirkpatrick gave the entities the total tax digest, or value of the county’s properties, on Thursday. It came in at about $9.24 billion, down from nearly $9.9 billion last year.

Once exemptions are taken out, about $7.9 billion in property values can be taxed.

"That’s a 4.7 percent decrease in the overall dollar amount of the digest," Kirkpatrick said.

The digest was lower than initial projections, she said.

It’s why Kirkpatrick said she always gives preliminary numbers with "the very qualified statement that these are going to change, and they’re probably going to change somewhat dramatically, so don’t go making projections off of these."

"I used to try to not give them out until now, but I think because of the economy, [officials] been really anxious to see where things are going and how much it’s dropping."