Don't agree with the Columbia County tax assessor's opinion of what your property is worth? Feel strongly enough about it to file for an appeal before tax bills come out?
If so, for some odd reason this year you don't have a lot of company.
Columbia County's chief appraiser, Debbie Robertson, said her office handled 1,329 appeals in 2008.
This year? "It was kind of a quiet year," Robertson says.
That might be an understatement: Just 580 people filed notice by the Sept. 28 deadline that they were disputing the county's assessment of the value of their property.
In any other times that would merely be mildly interesting. This year? It's astounding. Columbia County foreclosures are at an all-time high, real estate inventories remain glutted because of slow sales, and new homes aren't commanding the high prices they once did. Are taxpayers just less contentious?
Probably not. Some of the explanation for the lack of disagreement could be explained by House Bill 233. The bill freezes property assessment increases for the next three years, which means homeowners who are staying put need not worry about higher values - yet.
But when that bill expires, you can bet local communities, ours included, will scramble to make up for lost ground. Avoid the rush and get that appeal ready.
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