Morgan County Tax appeals explode, 75 expected in Augusta
The effects of the recent re-evaluation of county property continue to trickle down, as the Board of Equalization expects to hear 75 appeals regarding property values this month alone. Thatâ€™s a significant departure from the five or so appeals that might have been heard in a non-reevaluation year.
Morgan County Chief Appraiser Todd Paschal says that despite the volume of appeals this year, things could have been much worse.Â
â€œThe number of appealsâ€¦was extremely low,â€� said Paschal, referring to the written appeals regarding 659 total parcels in the county. â€œIn a total reevaluation, we could have had 3,000 appeals as easily as not.â€�
In fact, the total number of appeals to the county hovers around three percent of the total parcels, a number comfortably below the five-percent maximum mandated by the state.
â€œIf the number of appeals exceeds five percent, then you have real problems,â€� said Paschal. â€œYou canâ€™t even submit the digest to the state at that point, until you get the number of appeals downâ€"then you canâ€™t collect taxes, local governments have to borrow moneyâ€¦that didnâ€™t happen.â€�
Of the 659 parcels appealed, 311 of those will be forwarded to the Board of Equalization, said Paschal, which has already begun hearings. Some people withdraw their appeals before the hearing takes place; others simply donâ€™t show up for the hearing. Still, the Board of Equalization will likely hear more than 200 appeals between now and the end of the year.
The Board works on a tight timetable to hear and decide appeals. After accepting an appeal from the Tax Assessors office and the Tax Assessors Board, the Board of Equalization has only 15 days to communicate with applicants. Twenty days after that, the Board schedules hearings as quickly as possible.Â Currently, the large number of appeals is creating a logjam of cases, and Board of Equalization members expect to be very busy for the next several months.
The Board of Equalization is a 12-member, independent board that works within the county court system to judge appeals to property-tax evaluation. The board does not work for, or under, the tax assessorsâ€™ office.