By John Schaffner

Burt Manning, chief appraiser for the Fulton County Board of Assessors, said he expects there to be 6,000 to 8,000 appeals from the 19,000 revaluation notices that have been sent out to commercial property owners, two to three times the number of appeals from last year.

The reason, he told those attending the June 9 Bagels & Business meeting of the Sandy Springs-Perimeter Chamber of Commerce, is that many of the properties have not been re-appraised in 16 to 17 years and the present appraisals are resulting in significant tax increases for many commercial property owners.

He said some 85 percent of the commercial property owners are experiencing tax increases.

In response to a question, Manning said traditionally approximately 25 percent of those who file appeals get some degree of relief.

Manning pointed out that his operation does not collect taxes or set the millage rates. The Board of Assessors simply appraises and establishes the value of all taxable properties in Fulton County—residential, commercial and business personal property.

“All you have to do is move to Fulton County and buy some real estate and you become one of my customers,” he said.

“We represent all of Fulton County one end to the other over 70 miles from the new city of Chattahoochee Hill Country to Milton,” he said. In 2007, he said it represented 328,261 properties with a total value of $136 billion. At 40 percent of fair market value, it represented $54 billion in tax revenue.

In 2007, he reported, “we had 27,000 in sales.” In 2008, he said they recorded about the same number of deeds in the clerk’s office. “But there was a considerably smaller number of sales—instead of 27,000 the previous year, it was just 20,712.”

He said we are up about 9,000 parcels over the previous year—many less than there were in 2006 and 2007 when they had over 20,000 parcels. He said metro Atlanta has 140,000 undeveloped lots available, which is at least a five-year supply.

The fair market value of the appraised properties equals $158,660,000, he said.

He pointed out the county has a new photo imaging system for properties that provides oblique images of buildings and helps both parties in appeals.

He said the three approaches used to determine the true market value are a replacement value approach, income approach to value and sales comparisons.