'Sticker shock' as some property taxes skyrocket

- It is happening in many parts of metro Atlanta, sticker shock from property tax bills in the mail. In Fulton County, the county commission has heard from many constituents.

Joey Balog, who lives in the Summerhill neighborhood told FOX 5 News he was surprised by the sudden spike.

"I wanted to be kind of near the area where they are redeveloping. We knew property values were going to go up. So now the spike is a little bit sharp," said Blalog.

Fulton County Chairman Bob Ellis said he has heard from plenty of upset constituents caught off-guard by an increase in property taxes.

"You expect that they may rise somewhat but you're not expecting you could wake up and boom my tax bill is going up twenty thirty percent," said Ellis.

He said he has plans to have a state legislator introduce a bill at the Gold Dome to put the brakes on runaway tax bills.

"To have some sort of cap so that people, the tax payers, have some degree of certainty that in a worst case scenario, pick a number, whatever the case may be, is it three percent, five percent, this is the worst thing that could happen to me," said Ellis.

Fulton County Chairman John Eaves sounded the warning to homeowners in Fulton County.

"They have until July 10 to file a formal appeal," said Eaves.

He said property owners who appealing this year’s property taxes should try online first then if need be go before the county's board of equalization. He said homeowners should come prepared.

"Bring some sort of comparative data of how their home compares to others in their neighborhood and just go through the appeal process," said Eaves.

The chairman also reminded Fulton County homeowners to check their homestead exemption, which can reduce a property owner’s assessed value by as much as thirty thousand dollars, depending on circumstances. Vice Chairman Ellis believes the time is right to change the approach to property taxes to prevent the sticker shock which is happening now.

"I think with good dialogue between the local elected officials and the state legislators I think we can come up with a solution that works really well for all our citizens," said Ellis.

Ellis said more than two dozen states already have some form of property tax relief in place, which he said gives Fulton County and the state plenty of direction. Ellis also said going to some sort of cap system would ease the pressure of filing a property tax appeal, but no such luck this year.

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