Thursday, May 31, 2012

Once again the Herald misses the point.

Post by Mike Flynn

While the body of the story below is correct, the author made the following quote in the comments below the story:

As far as assessments go, the state inacted a three-year moratorium on assessments that ended this year, which also required what was tantamount to a revaluation on property. If your assessment went up, it's likely because A. you had some improvements to your home or B. The value of your home increased. Since assessors now have to figure in fair market value and comparable sales, many assessments actually went down. You apparently were just unfortunate enough to have yours increase.

Where did the writer get that information? Maybe from one of the tax assessors? Because if he had done any real research, he could find NUMEROUS examples of overvalued property. I understand these guys are over worked and under paid, but his comment below the story in just not accurate. Again... the digest value did not grow, it has been inflated.

Also consider the issue of the moratorium. The State froze values at the peak. Real estate went manic from 2002 to 2006, then the wheels came off. Values began to plunge around 2008. Then they were frozen - by the State. Meanwhile, the plunge continued.

Now that the moratorium is over, guess what, properties are over valued. If the reporter would just do some UNBIASED research he too would discover that the digest is over valued.

So if this expiration of the moratorium "was tantamount to a revaluation on your property", where was the army of hourly assessors? When where they given an hour long training session by watching a simple video? What company was outsourced to perform this RE-VAL?

As far as his B answer goes.... that shows a lack of real World experience or knowledge. He could also find many examples of property that has not been written down even with sales (more than 10% below subject) just a few doors down on identical property.

County short fall to be filled by fund transfer.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The tax digest did not grow, despite what you may read.

Post by Mike Flynn

A completely clueless report!

What is missing in the above report is the reality of our current situation. The reporter states that the digest has grown. That is what Denver Hooten said, so he reported it.

The truth of the matter is the value of the digest has been inflated, and since property values are in decline, many owners will be appealing for write downs.

How much over valued is the digest? Well lets look at one specific property to give you an idea.

710 Van Buren is a multi-family unit currently on the market for $29,000. It has five apartments that can be rented for a gross of $870 per month. The property is in distressed condition and has been on the market for 761 days.

Now let's examine how that property is reported on the digest. The property is identified as parcel 0000D/00010/032 and is carried on the digest at a value of $107,900 dollars.

So who is right? For a period of 761 days the free market has rejected this property at a value of $29,000, but lets give them that value just to make a point.

The digest value of $107,900 minus the market value of $29,000 gives us an over valuation by the county of $78,900. 710 Van Buren is over valued by 372%.

This is an extreme example, but there are others. Many others. 

Good commercial site - Slappey Drive

View Larger Map

Listing information - 1307 North Slappey Drive - With a traffic count of over 26,000 cars per day, this one acre lot on Slappey is prime for redevelopment. It has 195' on Slappey - 220' on 7th and 220' of rear alley access. Call Mike at 229-376-2361 for more information.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Property owners have the right to appeal.

Post by Mike Flynn

Citizens of Dougherty County know that millage rate increases are in their future. The county, city and school board all are projecting short falls. The school board may be as much as $9-million short, and the city is relying on MEAG money to make ends meet.

The one positive aspect of the current real estate market is that owners should, at very least, be given a reduction in the fair market value of their property.

The deadline for appealing the value of your property is 6/15/2012.

You can obtain the appeal form from the Tax Office and valuations of other properties.
Always check both the “value” and “uniformity” box.

Until you receive a final decision from the Board of Equalization or Arbitration, your taxes will be reduced 15% by appealing. Additionally, the Tax Assessors are barred from raising valuation of your property for two years.

Under a recent statute, if you obtain a reduction in the value of your property by an appeal, the Board of Assessors are barred from increasing your valuation for the next two years O.C.G.A. Sec 48-5-299(c).

Since our city and county have announced their consideration of raising our millage rate (which is already one of the highest in Georgia) it behooves you to take the time to investigate your property’s valuation and its uniformity.

You may access recent sales data in your neighborhood at the following public web site:  Recent sales can be used to establish the market value of your property.

If you need further assistance please contact me at 229-883-6100.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

So now the lenders are blaming the appraisers.

Post by Mike Flynn

Has anyone seen a story where a lender takes any responsibility for the current condition of the real estate market? There have been lenders that blame borrowers, Realtors and now appraisers.

Lenders point the fingers appraisers.

The truth of the matter is we all hold some of the blame for allowing the system to run out of control. We all bought into the mania. The entire World did. So now we ALL, this means you lenders too, need to get this market moving again.

A step in the right direction.

Post by Mike Flynn

Maybe this is  the beginning of self corrective measures. It is a shame it took these huge blemishes on DCSS for the board to do the right thing, but the public needed some action.

From The Albany Herald - BOE denies 26 renewals

Notice further down in the story that Robert Lloyd has also been moved from Director of Finance and Operations to director of supply services. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Dougherty County tax payers need some relief from the Governor.

Post by Mike Flynn
And the hits just keep on coming!

At some point the Governor of Georgia has to give the residents of Dougherty County some relief... Doesn't he?

So far we have:
  • CRCT Cheating
  • Free Lunch Fraud
  • Two million missing from the lunch program
  • Illegal orders to an officer of the law
  • Illegal use of TAX PAYER DOLLARS to bail out incarcerated students
  • Multiple instances of sexual misconduct  
What else does the Governor need? I am not going to criticize the hiring of the Dr. Murfree, but at some point he and finance director Robert Lloyd should be forced to speak with the GBI. I am not accusing them of wrong doing, and if there have been no laws broken, they should welcome the opportunity to speak with law enforcement.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Busy day... Deal removing Miller County school board members... Is DCSS next?

Post by Mike Flynn

Dealing with the problems!

The Governor is exercising power granted to him last year. How long before he sets his sights on Pine Avenue?

Albany facing spending cuts!

Post by Mike Flynn

From the Herald: Albany facing tax increases and spending cuts!

It looks like City Manager James Taylor gets it, but how will the commission vote when cuts affect their districts?

From the Herald - In what Taylor called a “blinding flash of the obvious,” commissioners could save money by reducing duplications in service that currently exist within the city government.
“It seems unreasonable to me to ask the citizens to pay more when we have likely efficiencies that can or should be made,” Taylor said. “In the military, we’d call that a blinding flash of the obvious.”

I wish the writer had followed up this statement and asked if Taylor was suggesting that city/county consolidation should be reconsidered.
Another huge issue is property valuation. When the county re-valuated the tax digest, the country was in the middle of a false real estate boom driven by manic lending. Now that the bubble has burst, values are returning to normal, which can be as much as 30% below their value carried on the digest.

The writer also suggest that taxes have been cut over the last two years because millage rates have been lowered. That is a semantics issue. The rates may have gone down, but the tax payers were writing bigger checks to the city because the valuations were unreasonably high. The revenue to the city went up drastically after the re-val, but the tide is starting to go out now.

Some properties are trading at 50% discounts off of their last recorded sale. The tax income to the city is going to contract for years to come, so while these cuts are a step in the right direction... you ain't seen nothing yet!

Adding to the problem is the fact that the percentage of stake holders is low. According to the US Census, 48.5% of county residents own their home, while the state average is 67.2 (The national average is around 67% and Lee County is 77%). In short, property owners are out numbered in Dougherty County, so the commission will have to show some courage to stand up to the majority.

Here are a few suggestions:

1 - Take an inventory of city owned property and sell any deemed to be excess.
2 - Lease or sell Chehaw. I know this is a county property, but a private park operator may have more flexibility. Wild Adventures in Valdosta is a good model.
3 - Lease or sell the Civic Center - Cut a deal to a private promoter to take over operations. Even offer favorable financing and exempt it from the tax digest for five years. At the end of that time, tax it at full value.