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Georgia county may raise tax rates to help reinstate services

At a public meeting on July 14, some residents of Gwinnett County urged commissioners to not raise their property taxes when the issue comes to a vote on July 22. Statistics indicate that a homeowner who has a house worth $167,000 will pay $785 in county property taxes. If millage rates are merely left alone, they could go up to an average of $850.

One man said that his property taxes were set to increase 17 percent if nothing was done about the issue and others wondered aloud why the county needed more money when residents could get by with the same amount that they made last year. Regardless of how the vote goes, those who will be casting ballots claim that they are not going to be responsible for property tax rates going up.

A representative for Gwinnett County said that homeowners who have had their homes assessed at higher values will see a higher property tax rate. Government officials are reluctant to lower tax rates because they feel as if they need money now to restore programs that may have been cut or underfunded during the recession as well as to provide services to a population that is growing rapidly.

Property taxes are generally assessed at the county or state level with towns or cities adding their own taxes as needed. In most case, the taxes that a homeowner pays are calculated as a percentage of the value of the home or the land that the home sits on. Taxpayers who believe that their home's value is assessed too high may wish to talk to a tax attorney who may be able to work with local assessors to resolve property tax disputes.

Source: 11 Alive, "Gwinnett County Commission vote may raise property taxes", Jon Shirek, July 15, 2014

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