Thousands of homeowners can keep their wallets closed because Fulton County and the state have ended their legal battle over frozen 2017 property values, Fulton Commission Chairman Robb Pitts told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Sunday.
The battle boiled down to whether Fulton had the right to freeze 2017 residential property values in response to resident outrage over drastically increased values.
Pitts said the county and the Georgia Department of Revenue have reached a settlement in the matter, but he declined to explain the deal, saying more would come during a Monday press conference. He said this settles the property value drama once and for all.
For years, Fulton failed to keep up with the rising property values of the booming metropolitan area. In an attempt to fix the effects of its broken system, the county sharply increased 2017 property values.
Nearly a quarter of Fulton’s 318,000 residential parcels had assessments up 50% or more — while half were up by at least 20%.
Homeowners mobbed county meetings, demanding commissioners do something about the suddenly skyrocketed values.
Using a law from the 1880s found by the county attorney, commissioners froze most 2017 residential property values at 2016 levels.
The state Department of Revenue, Georgia’s tax collecting agency, rejected the county’s tax digest multiple times. Both sides argued in court, and, as recently as January, the Revenue Department appealed a ruling.
Pitts said it wasn’t clear how much taxpayers would have owed.
But he said one thing is for sure: “It would have been just a disaster if that had happened.”
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