Property owners ask Columbus City Council to lower millage rate after raised taxes
Higher property taxes means property owners will have to pay more but it could also soon mean higher rent payments if you live in Columbus. Several landlords were left scratching their heads when this year’s tax assessments hit their mailbox.
COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Higher property taxes mean property owners will have to pay more, but it could also soon mean higher rent payments if you live in Columbus. Several landlords were left scratching their heads when this year’s tax assessments hit their mailboxes.
70,000 tax assessments are in the hands of taxpayers in Muscogee County. Landlord, Charlie Mordic’s first thought when seeing his is something isn’t right. His estimated tax payment this year is over $ 26,000 dollars, which is around $10,000 dollars more than last year.
“I thought it was a typo until I started talking to other property owners that I talk to. Whether it’s commercial or residential, it has gone up either typically 40 to 50 in some cases, I’ve talked to people who’ve gone up 75 percent,” said Mordic.
Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson said you could thank the boom in the real estate market during the pandemic for that.
“What is going on is through a re-evaluation period, a lot of properties have been valued or assessed at a much higher value,” said Henderson.
Which is why Mordic, along with other landlords, are asking the Columbus city council for a rollback of the county’s millage rate to offset the rise in cost. A cost that Mordic says will likely trickle down to most tenants in the fountain city.
There are two factors to know when it comes to understanding how much you pay in property tax. The millage rate and your property value. If either number goes up you pay more. Georgia law states lawmakers, by default, should roll back or reduce the millage rate if average property values increase. However, the millage rate can be left unchanged if proper notice is given by the government. This means that even though the millage rate is unchanged, anyone with higher property values can expect to pay more.
“Right now they’re [apartments] 725 for a two bedroom two bath, but unfortunately, we’re going to be forced to go up, and that’s going to be about 500 dollars a unit which works out to around 40 dollars a month”, said Mordic. “It just affects the whole city, city-wide.”
But Chief Appraiser for Muscogee County, Suzanne Widenhouse, says tenants are already seeing those rising rates thanks to their landlords.
“We look at what is the going rent on these apartments, and we capitalize that income stream to a value. So yes, they are seeing increases because their rents have gone up, and when their rents go up, their value goes up,” said Widenhouse.
Widenhouse says there are three different ways to appeal the assessment; online, by sending in a letter, or in person. Click here for their website, or call 706-653-4402.
A meeting is scheduled for next Tuesday at 9:00a in council chambers to explain more about tax assessments and allow you to express your opinion about the higher assessments.
Full Interviews Here:
Copyright 2023 WTVM. All rights reserved.