Home value assessments have been mailed by the Cobb Board of Tax Assessors for 2021, as the county begins to take stock of its fiscal state ahead of summer budget talks.
Homeowners are advised that appeals of their assessment must be submitted in-person, by mail, or electronically within 45 days of the mailing date of their notice.
Cobb leaders are counting on a healthy growth of the property tax digest this year to help the county rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic and avoid the need for a millage rate hike. A preliminary estimate from the Board of Tax Assessors in March predicted the digest would grow from $41.1 billion in 2020, to $43.3 billion in 2021, a roughly 5.5% increase.
Director Stephen White previously told the MDJ because so much of the county’s land is tied up in residential parcels, a robust housing market has made home values spike—and with them, the county’s income.
In May alone, 1,076 homes were sold in Cobb, according to the Georgia Multiple Listing Service. That number is up more than 36% from May 2020. Median sales prices jumped from $292,500 this time last year to $357,500.
The final digest numbers should be compiled by the end of June, according to county Finance Director Bill Volckmann. The digest will be certified a month later when the Board of Commissioners approves a millage rate at their last meeting in July.
Nearly half of that 5.5% digest growth will be eaten up out of the gate by rising healthcare and pension costs for county employees. Other expenses could go to concerns raised this year by department heads such as trouble recruiting and retaining workers and outdated infrastructure.
Other revenue streams are rebounding as the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be abating. This week, the county announced May’s hotel/motel tax collections were up a whopping 284% over May 2020. Those collections were among the hardest hit by the pandemic as hotel occupancies went off a cliff last spring.
Per a report provided by Cobb County, the April/May period was only the second month of fiscal year 2021 — which began last September — to see positive hotel/motel growth over the previous year’s period. Collections were up to $961,000 last month, a nearly 39% gain, but rose to over $1 million for the first time since February/March 2020.