Law from 1880s may provide Fulton County homeowners relief

- An old law on the Georgia books may provide relief for Fulton County homeowners hit by skyrocketing property taxes this year.

John Eaves, Chairman of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, raised the very real possibility of tax relief at a hearing held by the Senate State and Local Government Operations Committee at Roswell City Hall Monday afternoon.

RJ Morris, a member of the Fulton County Board of Assessors, which oversees property tax valuations in the county, asked a state committee for help to stabilize unpredictable property taxes.

"I gotta say I need your help. Yeah, I'm begging for your help," Morris told committee members.

Many homeowners had stories of neighborhood development unfairly spiking values and taxes.

"So what the builders do is buy one of the properties and create five or six McMansions. So then everything gets raised," said Steve Kramer.

Fulton County Board of Commissioners Chairman John Eaves told the state committee relief could be on the way.

"A potential solution has been identified within the power of the board of commissioners," said Eaves.

He told the committee the county's legal team discovered an 1880's law which allowed the then Commission of Roads and Revenue to change or correct the tax digest. And that law now applies to the Fulton County Board of Commissioners allowing them to maintain property taxes at 2016 levels.

"We'll go back to the 2016 levels and they will be assessed at that level and then they will be potentially taxed at the same rate they were taxed last year." said Eaves.

He said the Commission will make the change at its next meeting Wednesday morning. Others said it's time for Fulton County and Georgia to join other states with a property tax cap in place.

"We need to be like Texas even, in Texas it can't go up more than 10 percent," said R.J. Morris.

The Committee Chairman, Senator John Albers, told frustrated Fulton County homeowners, lawmakers under the Gold Dome will indeed consider placing a cap on property taxes at their next legislative session next year.

"We will write local legislation which will impact Fulton County and potentially other Counties that they never raise your taxes more than three percent in a given year," said Senator John Albers who represents the Roswell area.

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