By Jamison Meriwether Hooks staff writer

The good news for Morgan County property tax owners: according to a state report, property in Morgan County is selling higher than the assessed value. The bad news: that same report may cost taxpayers and the Morgan County school system money.

On Monday, the Morgan County Board of Education voted to appeal the 2013 Sales Ratio Study from the Department of Audits and Accounts, which placed Morgan County in the bottom five counties across the state for property sales compared to their assessed values. This study addresses the statewide equalized 100 percent adjusted property tax digest report for school tax purposes.This ratio represents a study conducted on 114 properties that sold in Morgan County within the last year. From the 114 chosen properties, a ratio is formed from the property’s assessed value and the price the house is actually sold for.

In Morgan County, properties are selling for more than they are assessed, which has led to an overall ratio of 34.83 percent, one of the lowest county percentages in the state. “This ratio is very concerning and I am proposing that we appeal the study,” said Business Operations Manager Libby Whitaker. Whitaker explained that with each 1 percent increase of this ratio, Morgan County schools would receive $80,000 in tax money.

Whitaker suggested that the BOE submit an appeal letter to the Department of Audits on the basis that many of the sales included in the study were not representative of normal Morgan County sales. Whitaker will submit an appeal to the Department of Audits by Friday Aug. 15. After the appeal is made the Department of Audits will reply within 45 days.

All action items for the meeting passed unanimously which included the approval of: The FY 2015 Budget for Technology/Career Education Local Plan; the request to declare MCPS’s Broken Sharp Television as surplus; a trip for MCHS students to the Future Farmers of America (FFA) camp in Covington, a request by MCHS Teacher Lareece Reynolds to travel to Italy, Spain, and France, which now included an itinerary; and fieldtrips requested by MCMS Dr. Darrell Stephens.