DeKalb orders revisions on some property assessments

Thursday, the county’s Board of Assessors agreed to send out revised property assessments in the next few days to a huge chunk of north-central DeKalb and a small area near Stone Mountain, acknowledging a mathematical error that calculated double- and triple-percentage increases in values there.

For most, the new assessments will be familiar. To account for a lack of time to do site visits in a reassessment, the county is returning values to their 2011 levels.

“I think I’ll live with that,” said Donald Vick, a retired accountant who saw the value on his 1,300-square-foot ranch home in Brookdale Park jump 54 percent, to $375,700. “I wanted to give them a little time to see what would break, and this is certainly the break we were hoping for.”

In all, Chief Appraiser Calvin Hicks said his office expects to send out new assessments for up to 4,000 homes, including 1,500 in Decatur that are not yet ready to be mailed. The office also is examining individual homes and smaller areas to make sure the same computer glitch didn’t hit more of the 230,000 assessments mailed May 29.

“Mistakes will be made, but I assure you that as they are, we will work to correct them,” Hicks said. “I don’t want to put the burden on any taxpayer to have too high a bill.”

County appraisers are to estimate the fair market value of properties each year, calculating what a home or business would sell for on the open market.

Several Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigations in recent years have found residential appraisals across the region are too high, meaning homeowners pay too much in property taxes.

The typical home appraisal in DeKalb was 10 percent too high in 2011, according to the AJC analysis. Typical residential appraisals in other counties also were too high, including 29 percent above market value in Clayton County, 16 percent in Gwinnett, 13 percent in Cobb and 7 percent in Fulton.

As of Thursday, 1,879 homeowners in DeKalb thought their homes were overvalued and filed appeals. Those appeals will be moot for any of the homeowners getting new assessments, though they also can appeal those calculations. State law gives homeowners 45 days from mailing to file, or until July 13 for the original notices.

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