Columbia County property tax bills are in mailboxes and posted online and tax dollars have risen.
County leaders say this is a good thing.
Let’s face it, nobody is ever super thrilled to pay their large bills, and this bill might actually be a little bit large, but just because it’s a tax bill, don’t be so quick to blame the county. We have to look at this as more of a personal investment.
Deputy County Manager, Matt Schlacter, says, “people do assume that their taxes are getting higher because their commissioners are raising taxes, and that’s not the case. Commission actually voted a month ago to lower the taxes, lower the millage rate.”
So, Columbia County residents are actually paying their government less than that what they have been on those property tax bills sitting in their mailboxes.
“If the property values get low, we start losing revenue, so the only way to offset that is to raise your taxes. That’s a bad thing. We’re the exact opposite,” says Schlacter. “Our property values are growing, more people are coming here, so we are able to lower our rate to get the same money we need.”
We’ve entered what they call a sellers market. Growth is coming to Columbia County and people want to live here.
According to Blanchard and Calhoun’s Real Estate sales numbers, the sale price of homes in Columbia County have increased in the last five years.
“There’s a high demand for property in Columbia County. So, that’s a great thing, it’s a great investment. You buy a home in Columbia County, it’s a good investment because when you do decide to move, you’re going to make money on your property,” says Schlacter.
We took a concrete example from a homeowner’s recent tax bill and compared it to last year. In 2018 the county tax was about $1,100. In 2019, it reached $1,140. The number paid to the county is higher this year, but the house value is what’s important.
In 2018, it was worth $290,000. In 2019, it is worth $303,000 dollars. That’s over $10,000 that could be pocketed, and it’s all from a decreased millage rate.
“Any time you can buy something and sell it at a later date to make more money than you paid for it that’s a great investment. So, you want to see rising property taxes,” says Schlacter.
He says some homeowners have called to get their properties re-evaluated, but the tax office deals with those callers.