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Letter to the editor
Tax assessor wrong on values
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Forsyth County News
I have read several articles in the Forsyth County News as recently as Sunday April 19,2009, about property reassessments.

It appears that our county tax assessor, Mary Kirkpatrick, has had her head in the sand for the last year. All of Mary Kirkpatrick’s quotes are off base.

She wants all property owners in Forsyth County to think that Forsyth County has not been affected by the recession. We are the only county that has not been hit by the recession. By reading your article in this past Sunday’s paper, she would have you to assume that you can go ahead and appeal your property value, but the tax assessor’s office is not going to do anything because your property values are already too low.

It is common knowledge that all property values have decreased 10 to 20 percent across the United States, and this does include Forsyth County. To quote Mary Kirkpatrick in all of your articles, she has stated that “The public reads and hears a lot of metro Atlanta and national statistics on how much property values have dropped, and those are not applicable for Forsyth County.”

She goes on to say that Forsyth County is already lower than fair market value, [so] we do not see many reasons to lower values. Forsyth County is a part of Metro Atlanta. I would think that with over 5,200 property appeals on file, that would be a red flag to the tax assessors that something is wrong.

Property owners in this county are not stupid, as Mary Kirkpatrick would lead you to believe. I know of subdivisions where almost half of the homes are in foreclosure and almost the other half are being rented to avoid foreclosure, and it is not built out.

Forsyth County has had to cut back on employees and make cuts in the budget not because of property taxes, but because people are not spending any money because they do not have any. The sales tax revenue is way down. Maybe it is time that we got a new county tax assessor to oversee that department. It’s concerning to know that Mary Kirkpatrick is not up with times we are living in.

The county is going to have to make big cuts in the next budget. They cannot raise taxes enough to offset this recession, because people do not have the money.

Richard E. Howell