• Proposed ACC Budget recommends decreasing millage rate
  • Tax Assessor’s Office assesses property at higher values across county
  • Assessment Notices arriving week of May 18
  • Mayor & Commission begin budget hearings on May 19
  • Commissioner Denson continues push for low-income homestead exemption

On April 30, Mayor Girtz released his recommended Budget which includes a decrease in the millage rate of 0.125 mills, reducing the millage rate from 13.950 to 13.825. As the Mayor stated in his budget letter to the Commission, “the homeowner of an average priced home in Athens-Clarke County will continue to pay similar, or in some cases, lower property taxes compared to neighboring and similar sized communities in the state.”

However, the Tax Assessor’s Office, which “appraises all property located in Athens-Clarke County at its fair market value”, estimates the total value of existing property will increase approximately 5.6% due to reassessment – which is greater than the value of the recommended reduction in the millage rate.  As a result, state law mandates that ACCGov must hold and advertise in the newspaper (and also on the ACC website) this increase due to reassessment and the “Taxpayer Bill of Rights” (TBOR) hearings. State law is very specific in the wording and content of the TBOR ad/announcment and this often leads to confusion in communities across the state.

The TBOR law considers an increase in the value of existing property to be a tax increase if the government does not completely “roll-back” the millage rate to offset the additional revenue.  Additional property taxes from improvements or additions are not considered in calculating the TBOR.

An actual millage rate increase by the Mayor & Commission would result in everyone’s property taxes going up, and for those with higher assessments the taxes would increase even more by multiplying the increased assessment. What is happening this year is that the Mayor & Commission are recommending lowering the mill rate, the number that assessed values are multiplied against, and while some property owners will see increased taxes due to the increase in the value of their home, some property owners will see no change and could even see their taxes go down.

To give further relief through this troubling time, Commissioner Denson is still working to get the Low-Income Homestead Exemption he passed through the Commission this past January through the State Legislature so that the implementation of it can be moved forward. If passed, this additional homestead exemption would give relief to homeowners who have incomes under 150% of the Federal Poverty Level.

Assessment Notices arriving in mail the week of May 18:

If you are a property owner, your assessment notice should be arriving the week of May 18. If you have questions or concerns:

  1. Call the assessors office at 706-613-3140 and talk with the appraiser responsible for your notice. The appraiser can explain in detail the reasons for the value change.
  2. Schedule an appointment to review your property with the appraiser at the tax assessors office.
  3. Make an appeal in writing to the Board of Tax Assessors if a resolution can not be reached.

How property taxes are calculated:

(other exemptions could apply if your applicable)
  1. The Tax Assessor’s Office assesses all property located in Athens-Clarke County “at its fair market value to ensure that taxpayers pay no more than their fair share of property taxes”. These assessments are mailed to you and are arriving the week of May 18.
  2. The Clarke County School District Superintendent and School Board sets the millage rate for school district taxes Clarke County residents. Currently, this is set at the maximum level of 20.000.
  3. The Mayor & Commission sets the millage rate for Athens-Clarke County residents for Unified Government taxes. Currently, this is set at 13.950.