The taxable value of properties in Sandy Springs likely will decline by about 3.5 percent this year, less than the about 8 percent drop overall in Fulton County, Fulton County’s chief appraiser told members of Sandy Springs City Council.

Burt Manning, the county’s chief appraiser, also said none of the faulty tax documents recently mailed to thousands of county property owners  involved properties Sandy Springs. Those mistaken statements were sent to homeowners in Atlanta, he said. The statements included an extra charge the county’s computer accidentally added in to the bottom line on the forms, he said.

During a May 10 budget workshop held by Sandy Springs city officials, Manning distributed work sheets showing a property tax digest in 2011 for the city of about $6.7 billion, down about 2 percent from the nearly $6.9 billion recorded in 2010. Manning told the assembled city officials at the meeting and repeated on May 11 that he expected a sharper decline, to about 3.5 percent, once final calculations and tax appeals are completed for 2011.

“It could have been worse,” Sandy Springs Mayor Eva Galambos said when Manning announced the projected decline.

The drop in real estate values reflects the general decline in the economy over the past several years.

“You have not been hurt as bad [as other parts of Fulton County],” Manning agreed. “The six cities north of Atlanta have not fared as badly as Atlanta itself. There are sections of Atlanta south of I-20, south of my office,  that look like the Bronx in the 1960s. Are you unscathed? No. I don’t think there’s an area that is.”

Manning said his office was starting to see some signs of recovery in the real estate market. “We do see some signs of stabilization,” he said. “We do see some sales coming across our desks at [prices] higher than the appraisals. We think 2012 is going to be our year to catch up.”

–Joe Earle

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.