By Debi Holcomb, Fannin Sentinel Staff Writer
Chief Appraiser Dawn Cochran reminded the media at the March 8 meeting that April 1 is the deadline for filing tax exemptions with the Tax Assessors Office. These include Homestead, Forest Land Preservation, Soil Conservation and Historic property. Tax returns are also due for Personal Property tax such as businesses, marine, aircraft and freeport exemption. All applications are for the status as of January 2019. Cochran also asked that any business that has closed notify her office, otherwise taxes will continue to accrue. Not filing a personal property tax return does not constitute a notification of closure.
The Board of Assessors (BOA) less Mark Henson who was absent, approved 108 homestead applications. They approved 77 conservation applications. One taxpayer came in to appeal a denial on his conservation application and applauded the professionalism of the employees he has dealt with directly.
Four vehicle appeals, all with bill of sales attached, were approved.
City of Blue Ridge requested GIS (Geographic Information System) data, which would cost an individual $500. Cochran asked the BOA if she should charge the city. Discussion of the give and take between governmental entities was done before the vote. Board Member Angelena Powell was the only member to vote to charge the city.
Cochran gave an update on the status of the Tax Assessors budget. She indicated that employees are still working overtime with no pay just to keep the department’s head above water. “The amount of work is massive. They are doing 200-220 site visits per week in the pouring rain,” stated Cochran. She continued, “They are just kinda doing the best they can.”
In 2018, the department started out with 15 employees and now must accomplish the same or more work with only 11 employees in 2019.
The next BOA meeting is scheduled for April 12 at 2 p.m.