We are unfortunate property owners of Spalding County. Last year on April 28, we were hit by a tornado. We lost everything that we worked so hard for over the past 20 years. Luckily, we had insurance on the buildings, so the insurance company built a new building. The insurance company paid just the cash value on the buildings. We used to have three separate buildings; however, now it is only one building due to limited insurance coverage. We were devastated by the tornado and the resulting effects, which has caused many months of financial struggles over the past year.
Spalding County took unfair advantage of this situation through tax increases. To our horror, the amount that the Spalding Tax Board has valued the building is more than a 200 percent increase in taxes. We were in shock and could not believe that the Spalding County Tax Assessment Board would increase taxes on these properties in such a depressed real estate market.
After investigating the real estate prices in our neighborhood, we found out that there are many buildings and properties that are foreclosed or owned by the bank. For these bank-owned properties, the costs are estimated at less than $50,000; however, Spalding County estimated our building at $220,000. We live in Henry County, and our tax was lowered from $1,200 to $400 this year. There are many counties in country that are decreasing tax, not increasing. We do not understand how Spalding County can justify its raise in property taxes, as it burdens an already crumbling economy.
We believe, as many property owners in Spalding County, that it is necessary to express outrage of this tax increase. Even the appeals process will not fix our problem because by appealing and possibly reducing the tax, still we have to pay large tax fees.
As Mr. Ralph Dougherty Jr, a Griffin resident, who recently wrote a letter to the editor in The Griffin Daily News, mentioned in his letter, I believe as well that it is time for a class-action lawsuit against this horrific taxation. We should all fight for our rights and stand up to the tax increase.
We feel very unfortunate that our building is located in Spalding County, since we feel Spalding County officials do not care about what is best for the people. In fact, it looks as though they are only worried about garnering enough funds to pay for their own government mismanagement of funds. We do not plan to invest any more money in Spalding County, and we will make sure to spread the word so that others do not make our same mistake. We do not know if common sense and words will appeal to the Spalding County government, so we will continue to pray and ask God for His assistance in this matter.
TINA ABOLVERI AND FARHAD FALLAHI