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Sunday May 3rd, 2015 6:58AM

2nd of two planned meetings to explain Hall real estate project is Thur.

By Ken Stanford
GAINESVILLE - The Hall County Tax Assessors Office is hosting another community meeting next Thursday to discuss the recent real estate equalization project involving an in-depth study of lakefront property values and how they align with lakefront property sales in Hall County.

The meeting will in South Hall at 6 p.m. at the Mulberry Creek Community Center.

"Equalization is nothing new. We're constantly analyzing and updating property values, however, this project has been extremely large and complex," Hall County Chief Appraiser Steve Watson said in announcing plans for the two meetings, the first of which was held April 3. "That's why it's important for us to make sure citizens understand the project and how it will affect their property taxes."

Watson said both meetings were designed to be a chance for him to not only demonstrate to citizens the recent disparity between the sale price and appraised value of most lakefront properties in Hall County but also highlight the reasons for not correcting the inconsistencies sooner, including a state-mandated moratorium on increasing property values and his own office's decrease in personnel in the wake of the economic downturn.

"Many lakefront land values have not been comprehensively updated in a number of years, and the current staff and Board of Assessors felt strongly that this is the time to address what was previously neglected," he said.

In addition, non-lakefront property is also being reviewed and updated as needed. At this time, the number of non-lakefront properties that are changing in value is approximately the same as the number of lakefront properties being reassessed.

Watson said the goal of the project is to equally disburse the property tax burden by making sure that all properties in Hall County are assessed at fair market value. The project is expected to be completed by May, which is when this year's property assessment notices are mailed.

The first meeting was held in the North Hall area. (See link below for a story on it.)
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