What To Do About Your 2017 Property Tax Valuation

Muscogee County updated their real property valuation software in 2017. The new system reassessed all property parcels and has generated new Fair Market Values for thousands of properties on June 30th 2017. Our office has been notified of several cases, in which the values have been grossly undervalued or overvalued.

If an owner of Residential Property filed for Homestead Exemption, the assessed value (equals 40% of fair market value) is frozen. The tax payment will not increase if the Fair Market Value increases and the payment will not decrease if the Fair Market Value decreases. This is why our tax system is commonly referred to as The Freeze. The Fair Market Value of a property may change over time, but if you have a Homestead Exemption, the Assessed Value (the amount used to calculate your tax payment) will not change.

For Residential Properties with Homestead Exemption:

When will my property tax payment increase?

  1. When the Millage Rate is increased
  2. Improvements to the property are recorded. (square footage is added to the property or exterior improvements are added which increase the FMV)

When will my property tax payment decrease?

  1. When the Millage Rated is decreased?
  2. When a homeowner removes the Homestead Exemption and the FMV of the property is reassessed at a lessor amount.

 

To view the presentation during City Council Meeting click the link below.

https://youtu.be/94o55lhsJoY

What should you do? If you disagree with the Current Fair Market Value for any of your properties……file an appeal.  View Appeal Forms Here.

Help, My Community is Frozen in 1982

Thursday night I traveled back in time and spent three hours 1982. No, I wasn’t in the DeLorean with Michael J. Fox, I was at Mathews Elementary attending the Tax Freeze Forum Debate. The majority of the audience appeared to be over 50 and does not support the last item on the November Ballot, that will allow Muscogee County to retire our current tax system and “Thaw The Freeze.” This was apparent when no one applauded after the Mayor, Brian Anderson, Cedric Hill, and I were introduced. 

Some citizens feel the “Freeze” protects residents who are in it and all newcomers from the government. What seemed like a good decision to protect citizens back in 1982, when Interest Rates were 21%, has now created a welcome stranger tax for all new residents. Ask anyone who has purchased a primary residence in the last 10 years in Muscogee County if they believe the Freeze is Fair. Does the Freeze really protect us? Yes, the Freeze has been slowly building a wall around Muscogee County with “Don’t Move Here” signs posted every 100 ft. It’s protecting us from new businesses, new residents, and new opportunities.

Who would move to a community that is building a wall around itself? Only people who have no other choice. And when they do have another choice, they leave our community. This wall needs to come down. Not all at once, but over the next 7-10 years, one brick at a time. A YES Vote for the last item on the November Ballot will remove the first brick. 

The 1980’s gave us:

  • Glamour Shots
  • Waterbeds
  • Video Rental Stores
  • Big Hair & Shoulder Pads

What seemed like good ideas at the time, were soon dismissed with reason and logic. If something has been wrong for 30 years, I suggest that is long enough. Please wake up Columbus! Vote YES and Thaw The Freeze. 

Freeze Facts

Why should Muscogee County, GA residents vote YES to Thaw the Freeze? Let’s look at some Freeze Facts:

  • Every homeowner who benefits from the Freeze is allowed to keep it.
  • The Freeze is unfair and promotes inequality.
  • The Freeze limits options for seniors on fixed incomes.
  • Retiring the Freeze will create jobs in Columbus.

After nearly 35 years of negative effects it’s clear that our property tax valuation Freeze:

  • Stagnates job growth
  • Discourages families from living inside our county line
  • Strangles our opportunities and success

We can do better! Let’s grow Columbus, GA with a fair tax system that works for us. For more information and facts please visit:

http://thawthefreeze.com  https://www.facebook.com/thawthefreezeColumbus/

What is a Smart Home?

Highlights

  • Smart Home & Home Automation
  • Benefits & Features of a Smart Home
  • Service Providers

Home Automation or Smart Home is the new conversation among Home Owners and Real Estate Agents nationwide. What is a Smart Home? A Smart Home is one that provides its home owners comfort, security, energy efficiency (low operating costs) and convenience at all times, regardless of whether anyone is home, according to SmartHomeUSA. Home Automation refers to the automatic & electronic control of household features, activity & appliances. So if your home has automation control of some features within it, then you are living in a smart home.

Automating your home provides you access to your home’s features, remotely from your phone or tablet. Want to know what is happening at your home while you are away? You can receive notifications via email/text alerts when the following actions occur:

  • Door unlocking or opening
  • Window sensor triggered
  • Motion detected on camera
  • HVAC System not functioning properly

Lower your utility bills by automating your interior/exterior lighting and thermostat settings. Peace of mind has never been more important or more affordable.

Know your family is secure in your home with these features:

  • Doorbell camera
  • Arm/Disarm your alarm remotely
  • Lock/Unlock doors remotely
  • Watch your child come in from school

Several national/global companies offer Home Automation Kits installed by professional technicians for a lump sum or low monthly fee. Read the small print for contract terms, as most providers require a minimum 3 year commitment. Xfinity, a Comcast Company, offers internet, TV, monitoring, and home automation if you are located in their coverage area. Vivint, recently featured in Forbes Magazine, is one of the world’s biggest smart home providers. Bigger isn’t always better though. If you are looking for a locally owned/operated home automation company, contact ACOM. They have offices throughout the state of GA and are based in Columbus, GA.

Home Automation is an important feature buyers consider when searching for a home. If you are considering selling a home, talk to your real estate agent about the steps you need to take to effectively market your home as a Smart Home.

 

What is Diversity?

The concept of Diversity encompasses acceptance and respect. It means understanding that each individual is unique and recognizing our individual differences. Until the 1990’s most of America was disconnected. But when Steve Case launched AOL, America got online and began making connections. Steve’s new book, The Third Wave, is part biography and part glimpse into the future.

3 Waves of the Internet:

  1. First Wave: 1985-1999 Building the internet. Laying the foundation for the online world. (AOL was the connection)
  2. Second Wave: 2000-2015 App economy & mobile revolution. Search, social & e-commerce startups grew on top of the internet. (Google, Facebook, Amazon)

  3. Third Wave: 2016-? Internet of everything. Ubiquitous connectivity allows entrepreneurs to transform major real-world sectors. (who??????)

We are experiencing Tectonic Shifts in our society. The Third Wave is building up speed and will revolutionize major sectors—healthcare, transportation, energy, food, education and the way we live.  Steve Case

What Does it Mean to be Diverse?

Diversity: (Merriam Webster) The quality or state of having many different forms, type, ideas, etc. The state of having people who are different races or who have different cultures in a group or organization.

This is the old definition of diversity. Because of the first 2 waves, we have been collecting massive amounts of data. Amazon recommends items for us to purchase, based on our past purchase/viewing history. LinkedIn suggest professionals to connect with. Online Dating. We can now explore our own unique interests online in literally every category imaginable. And we are now aware of each other’s own unique interests. But does this awareness make us diverse?

You’ll find various versions of this statement in short and long form on many University and College websites:

The concept of Diversity encompasses acceptance and respect. It means understanding that each individual is unique and recognizing our individual differences.

Generation Y & Z are the most diverse generations yet. They see everyone as a unique individual and they only want to be accepted & respected. This is what I believe Diversity means today.