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story by Jessica Blomquist • photos by Angelina Bellebuono
By Jessica Blomquist
The Morgan County Board of Commissioners heard a presentation by two members of the Morgan County Board of Assessors at its work session last Tuesday.
Tax assessors Ron Zay and Chuck Anglin offered information about the possible effects of a new law that has the potential to alter the minimum acreage for entry into Conservation Use. House Bill 281, passed on May 14, states that a county’s governing authority may establish a minimum acreage to qualify for Conservation Use.
Currently, the minimum is set at 10 acres, but the Assessor Board is recommending that minimum be increased to 25 acres. “I want you to think for a minute why the legislature took it upon themselves to change this law and allow that flexibility,” said Zay. “They didn’t do it on a whim. They did it because they’re having problems. They’re hearing problems from different counties about the small acreage being difficult to ascertain whether it’s truly in conservation use. Right up front, we are strongly recommending that you go to 25 acres.”
The Georgia Department of Revenue Web site states that Conservation Use, which assesses property at 40 percent of its current value, is designed to encourage property owners to continue using land for agricultural use instead of converting their property to residential or commercial use. Once a parcel of land qualifies for Conservation Use, the landowners must keep the property in qualifying condition for ten years.
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