“They have completed about two-thirds of the county properties on the first of the year,” said Chief Tax Assessor Tim Whalen, referring to personnel from AVTACS, the company the county has contracted with to do the revaluation. “That doesn’t include any of the city, just the county.”
He said the field review of properties began last July and is expected to continue until this July. AVTACS personnel go to each property and review the county’s existing property records, taking note of anything that has changed. They will examine city properties once properties in the unincorporated areas are done.
“At some point ... they will be passing the field review sheets back to us,” Whalen said.
Once the data is in the county computers, AVTACS will begin assembling cost manuals for the various types of property based on current sales values and begin computing the ratio of sales prices to the values company personnel have arrived at. Once that is done, those figures will be fine-tuned to come up with the 40 percent assessed value of the property. This is where trends such as which neighborhoods are thriving and which are declining will be discerned.
“It will have been eight years since we’ve done a revaluation, so we expect to see some shifts in value,” Whalen said.
He said AVTACS personnel will have cards from the tax assessors’ office, Spalding County photo IDs and magnetized signs reading “Spalding County Tax Assessors” on their vehicles.
Larry Griggers, chief executive officer of AVTACS, said the revaluation has not gotten to the point where trends can be discerned.
“From the observations I’ve made in other counties that we have gotten to that point, we’ve seen a nine percent decline in 2008 and an eight to 10 percent decline in 2009,” he said.
These figures apply primarily to rural Georgia. He said the metro Atlanta area has been hit harder, based on conversations he has had with people in similar lines of work there.
However, the new values generated in 2010, when the revaluation is projected to be finished, will be heavily weighted toward 2009 sales values. He said the sales values of older years - with the exception of 2008 - do not reflect the impact of the economic downturn.