FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — Fulton County Commissioner Bob Ellis criticized the tax assessor’s office May 15 for repeatedly failing to meet benchmarks.
The appraisers failed to meet their deadline for mailing 2019 assessments, failed to meet their deadline for processing exemptions and failed to meet their target for the percentage of appeals handled at the assessor level, according to statements made during the meeting.
“We continue to miss deadlines that we have set despite the fact we have pumped in a lot of additional resources,” Ellis said. “We’ve all got jobs to. I know work is hard, but when we put those things out there and then we miss them it just fuels the frustration around an area that has already been frustrating.”
The original schedule for releasing notices was April 19. Fulton County Chief Appraiser Dwight Robinson said that date was not met because the technology they use needed to be updated to reflect new exemptions and then tested.
He did not have a new date for when notices will be released.
Even when the notices are set out, they may not include all of the relevant homestead and senior exemptions, Robinson said.
The goal for processing exemptions was May 17, but Robinson said they would not finish processing the exemptions until a few days after that deadline, even though new staff had been brought on to help with the new exemptions that passed in November.
“These exemptions were proposed — the referendum didn’t happen until November — but these have been known for a year as far as the likelihood of playing out, but yet we didn’t begin a programing process until the later part of last year?” Ellis asked.
Meanwhile, there are 2018 property assessments still under appeal. There were more than 41,000 appeals on 2018 property assessments. Countywide, property values increased by more than 25 percent on average, the Assessor’s Office previously reported.
When a property owner makes an appeal, it first goes to the Board of Tax Assessors. Once the assessors have reviewed the appeal and notified the taxpayer, the property owner has 30 days to say whether or not they agree with the decision.
They can then take the appeal to a second level through the Board of Equalization, a hearing officer or arbitration.
All cases have been resolved at the assessors’ level, but about 40 percent of appeals are still waiting to be resolved at one of the second tiers, Robinson said.
About 10 percent of appeals were resolved at the Board of Tax Assessors, when the goal they set for themselves was 25 percent.