Caroga eyes updating property data

CAROGA – A revaluation may be in the town’s future, according to a town official.

Supervisor Ralph Ottuso said recently the town will update its database of parcels.

“Basically, what we decided needs to be done in this town is every parcel should have a picture taken of it, a file on that parcel, the measurements on that parcel,” he said.

Ottuso said the town already has that information for some parcels. There are roughly 2,900 parcels in town, he said.

Ottuso said a new system has been released, called RSP. Using RSP, Ottuso said they could put all the information into a tablet, along with a photo, and update their database wirelessly.

Ottuso said it will cost roughly $1,200 for the software and the tablet.

Ottuso said the town would need to start this program by March 2014 and finish by August 2014. Officials will be notifying the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office to inform them of the project. Those hired to work on the project will be given identification to avoid any confusion.

Ottuso said the town would bring in temporary workers to handle the project.

“It is going out and basically doing a revaluation, except done in house,” Ottuso said.

Town Assessor Dorothy Parker said the project – which she said is a revaluation – probably won’t be completed until 2015.

Parker said the town’s equalization rate is at 46 percent.

Equalization rates are established annually by the state Board of Real Property Services subsequent to on-site field appraisals and surveys of local properties.

According to the state Department of Taxation and Finance, an equalization rate is the state’s measure of a municipality’s level of assessment. An equalization rate of less than 100 percent indicates overall property in the town is assessed less than market value. For example, an equalization rate of 43 percent means overall property in a municipality is assessed at 43 percent of market value.

According to the department, “in order to distribute school district or county taxes among multiple municipalities, the level of assessment of each municipality must be equalized to full market value. Once the full market value of each municipality is determined, the school district or county can determine how much in taxes should be collected from each municipality.”

Equalization rates also affect the establishment of tax and debt limits for municipalities.

Municipalities periodically do revaluations of their parcels.

Parker said at the end of a revaluation, the equalization rate would be up to 100 percent.

According to the state Office of Real Property Tax?Services, the last time Caroga had an equalization rate of 100 percent was 2003.

Ottuso did not return phone calls seeking further comment on the project.