Fulton County is just busy being Fulton County, but this time it’s affecting the county tax digest in a way that goes well beyond Fulton County government.
The Georgia Department of Revenue has rejected Fulton County’s 2017 tax digest in its entirety until the matter goes before a judge. Collections are completely halted.
The state’s revenue agency sent a letter to Fulton County Tax Commissioner saying:
“Assessments (were) improperly issued, appeared to be deficient, and taxpayer appeal rights from those assessments appear to have been truncated,” Mills noted. “It is highly likely that many taxpayers did not timely exercise their appeals rights and not appeals were properly accounted for to determine whether the appeals exceeded thresholds.”
WSBtv reported last week:
In May, hundreds of property owners were shocked to find assessments, in some cases with spikes as much as 200% over this time last year.
At the time, county officials said that was in part due to the fact that assessments in some sections of the county hadn’t been completed in many years and the county was essentially playing “catchup.”…
“It’s questionable whether Fulton County Board of Assessors had the legal authority to roll back the initial May 19th values,” the letter stated. “Assessments were improperly canceled and then re-issued , appeals rights were truncated, and residential properties were subsequently undervalued.”
Fulton County told WSBtv that the Tax Commissioner’s office and the Tax Assessor’s office are both working diligently on the matter and expect it to be resolved soon. But not soon enough. The Fulton County Board of Education, which, along with all the other entities within Fulton County – cannot collect taxes until the matter is resolved, says the situation is “dire.” The Chief Financial Officer said the district has a “cashflow problem” and is trying to determine how to operate without the expected revenue. “We may need to brrow money to make our payroll and pay our bills,” he said. BOE President Linda Bryant says the biggest concern is worrying about how to pay 14,000 employees.
The race for Chairman of the Fulton County Commission is just a week away, but only one candidate has commented publicly on the issue.
Gabe Sterling issued a press release Friday:
“This was, unfortunately, always the likely outcome given state law. The lack of uniformity alone made the band aid fix that the Commission passed, based on a tenuous 1880s law, an unstable solution at best.”
“This fiasco points out the absolute necessity to pass my CPI tax cap to protect homeowners in the upcoming General Assembly,” continued Sterling. “There are many people and institutions that are victims of the chaos surrounding this year’s property tax collections; homeowners, property owners, governments, schools, teachers and students.”
Neither Keisha Waites nor Robb Pitts issued statements.
The temporary collection hearing is set for November 3, which would allow other entities within Fulton County to collect their taxes as planned.