County tax assessors approve exemption, appeal
By Stephanie Johns
Antioch Church in Godfrey received a tax exemption from the Morgan County Board of Tax Assessors for a one-acre wooded lot contiguous to the church property.
Chuck Anglin, Chief Appraiser, later explained that places used for religious worship or burial are exempt from paying taxes but the church must apply for this exemption.
“Taxes are the norm,” he said. “Exemptions are the exception.”
Robert Bailey, Assistant Chief Appraiser, provided details about a motor vehicle value appeal. A 2007 Gulf Stream RV was valued at $86,250 for this tax year. Upon speaking with the RV owner and looking into comparable values of similar vehicles, Bailey and the RV owner agreed that fair market value for the next tax year would be $66,880.
The board approved the E&R list. Most of the list came from Board of Equalization hearings in which people appealed their tax values.
Anglin later said that they cannot finish the remaining part of the billing until any appeals to the Superior Court either go to court or are settled. Lafarge is the only one to appeal.
Some of the list resulted from homestead exemptions not being applied to the bill when it should have been. Also on the list was the settlement with Harris Diversified Services already approved by the board.
Anglin later said that Harris Diversified appealed in 2009.
Board member Marcus Schuchs noted that one property dropped from $20,000 to $5,000 and asked if that was a reasonable decrease.
Anglin replied that they decided not to pursue it based on the scenario they were looking at.
He later shared that the property was valued at $20,000 on Jan. 1, 2012 but that may not be the property’s value the next year based on the market.
Schuchs noted that properties had sold cheaply out of bankruptcy.
Toward the end of their meeting Anglin shared what he had heard while attending the Georgia Association of Assessing Officials conference.
He said Morgan County is trying to be proactive regarding a new law that passed May 1, 2012 but that the Georgia Department of Revenue (GDR) has not yet provided guidelines on how to administer.
The law pertains to the Conservation Use Value Assessment (CUVA), which now excludes two acres of land from conservation use on an applicant’s property. The two acres could then be used for a small business.
“We’re trying to be both feasible and tax payer friendly,” he later said. “We’re trying to address what affect this is going to have on our tax payers.”
Anglin said none of the other counties at the conference see it as a big issue.
Chairman Ron Zay asked the two board members present, Schuchs and the Rev. Ruben Walker, if they wanted to continue with the renewal list or move on to discussing the acreage list.
They have met to discuss conservation use renewals that will come up from January to April of next year.
Schuchs and Walker said they would like to finish with the portion of the list they had started and then go on to the other.
Zay said they had gotten “a pretty good start” on the list during their last work session.
Their next work session will be 9 a.m. Dec. 10. Their next monthly meeting will be 9 a.m. Jan. 7.
Printed in the December 6, 2012 edition