DeKalb County home appraisals dropped 6 percent lower than last year’s home values and county leaders see that as positive.
The county’s board of assessors voted May 3 on a tax digest that drops an average of 6 percent for properties in DeKalb cities and 8 percent in unincorporated areas.
That drop was 1 percent greater than projected in CEO Burrell Ellis’ 2012 budget.
“We were pretty close to the mark,” said Burke Brennan, the county’s chief communications officer. “We are somewhat heartened that it is not worse.”
The tax digest shows improvement over last year and is a sign of stabilization in the housing market, Brennan said.
That, combined with increased activity in the county’s permitting department, points to a possible rebound in the local economy, Brennan said.
County leaders must address the financial impact of the additional 1 percent drop, which amounts to $2 million over what was predicted in the budget.
“The CEO is already ahead of this,” Brennan said.
In an April 19 memo, Ellis instructed county department heads to make contingency plans to cut up to 10 percent of their budgets by 2013 to prepare for “a number of issues that can have substantial budgetary impact on both the 2012 and 2013 tax fund budgets.”
Those issues include the possible incorporation of Brookhaven, the proposed expansion of Chamblee and annexations by Avondale Estates, Decatur and Doraville, according to Ellis’ memo.
Some county commissioners, including Commissioner Lee May, were expecting a bigger drop in the tax assessments.
“It could have been much worse. I’m very much pleased,” May said. “We are all excited because that means we have more revenue that we thought. Now we just have to deal with the annexations and incorporations.”
Although the appraisals are “exciting” compared to what they could have been, May said, “Unfortunately, it’s still down 6 percent.”
And the 8 percent drop in property values in unincorporated DeKalb is “still a bit alarming,” May said.