Ok so have most of you recovered from the shock of opening up your 2017 Notice of Value from the Elbert County Assessor?
You might be wondering by what unicorn magical process did they come up with the percentages of increase? The legend goes that in 2013 County Assessor, Billie Mills, decided two things; to fire or run off a bunch her employees, and that property in Elbert County was undervalued. So that year, property values increased slightly and employees decreased a bunch.
Then in 2015 the County hired a “well-respected company from Lamar” to do assessments that the now sharply reduced EC staff was unable to accomplish. Then this is where the typical Elbert County government fog rolled in to muddy the facts: Mike Akana (who has his own interesting reputation in various Counties) somehow wormed his way into working under said “well-respected Lamar company “ (as a subcontractor-surrogate-buddy of Billie – or something else that nobody concerned will admit to.) So Mike Akana did the residential and commercial values for the County, apparently from the state of Florida at the time using wild-ass guessing or software, but never actually physically inspecting the properties (as required by law.)
Flash forward a bit. Billie Mills then hires Mike Akana as her special data analyst....and what happens....residential values jumped all over the board (even in the same neighborhoods) from a minus to over 181% increase and those are just the ones that have been investigated so far. And commercial properties, which Elbert County is desperate to attract, go from a minus 3% to a 200% increase. Apparently Akana’s Ouija board got his Monopoly game pregnant.
Property assessments are supposed to be based on property sales information gathered from July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2016. And your property value is established from those sales - when like property is compared to other like properties.
Is that what is happening? The Ouija board says NO.
YOU NEED TO DO THIS FAST
So, figure out your percentage of increase from the valuation the Assessor’s Office sent you...if it's not like homes in your neighborhood then PROTEST your value. With your Notice of Valuation is a “Real Property Appeal Form.” Fill it out and get it into the Assessor’s office (hand deliver or get Postmarked) by June 1.) Demand that the assessor's office to show you how they valued YOUR home....and if you don't like the answer they give you....go on to higher authority ....the County Board of Equalization...and then to the state Board of Equalization. Remember the taxes you’ll pay next year are based on your property valuation – you know, in case you didn’t think this issue is important.
Elbert County is not booming like say Denver or high valued San Francisco; we are not shiny with lots of friendly services. We’ve got dirt roads, essentially non-existent infrastructure and scant services. Contrary to Elbert County Government’s rich fantasy life, property and values here are not sky-rocketing to raise the tax base. We are not a destination; we are a dusty pass-through on the way to somewhere.
Billie Mills needs to quit hiding behind Mike Akana’s data cloud, cut him loose, and do the job she was elected to do. Hire employees that know what they doing and get the job done right. Oh and by the way your County Assessor's value went down in 2015 ....up in 2017 but not by the 75-100% that other's did.....now that’s unicorn magic in action.