A case brought forth by a group of Effingham County taxpayers on 2009 increases in property taxes will be heard Monday at 9:30 a.m.
The case, filed on a petition of 262 Effingham citizens, alleges that the tax assessor’s office raised the fair market value of many properties in 2009 in violation of the moratorium set out in HB 233. This action was filed in January and has been working its way through the court during this time.
“This is a day we have been looking forward to so that the issue that so significantly increased taxes for many will be resolved,” said taxpayers group leader Ruth Lee.
The crux of the matter is that the tax assessors say they met the criteria for an exemption to the moratorium in 2009 as set out in HB 233, the taxpayers hold that the assessors office failed to meet that criteria.
“We have been quietly going forward in this matter, working with our attorney, who is working with the court to get this matter heard,” Lee said.
The taxpayers group is a loosely formed group of citizens who stepped forward in unity to fight the issue of high taxes. While the tax assessors do not set the millage rate, it does set the fair market value of property to be taxed. The fair market value is the basis on which the assessment value — by law 40 percent of fair market value — is made. The assessed value is the basis on which taxes are then computed. When fair market values go up, taxes can go up for the individual property owner without any increase in the millage.
“This is an important issue for all citizens in the county,” Lee said, “and we would urge those who are concerned about their taxes to attend this hearing on Monday at 9:30 a.m.”
The case will be heard in the Effingham County Judicial Complex in Springfield.