An opportunity to learn about the Coweta County Board of Education’s senior property tax exemption schedule and make suggestions about potential adjustments is now online.
A link to the site, which went live Wednesday, is called “Senior Citizens Tax Exemption - School Council & Public Input” on the Coweta County School System’s website, www.cowetaschools.net . The board of education is soliciting public input through an email link on the site.
Over the past few months, several residents have expressed concerns that property values may change drastically in 2020, after appraisers complete their revaluation of every residential and agricultural property in Coweta County.
“As you know, we’ve had citizens come to us and make a request to consider raising the senior tax exemption to account for inflation since it was originally put into place,” Superintendent Steve Barker said at the board of education’s Tuesday meeting. “We’ve run some calculations, and we’ve had some citizens present some information they wish for the board to consider.”
Currently, senior citizen exemptions are based on age. Ages 65-70 don’t have to pay school tax on the first $100,000 of their homestead’s property value. Ages 71-74 are exempt from taxes on $150,000 in value, and ages 75 and older are exempt from the first $200,000 in value. Exemptions are based on the owner’s age as of Jan. 1 of each year.
The exemptions were adopted in their present form by the school board and Coweta voters in 2002 and went into effect in 2003, and Barker said residents who have contacted the board are asking that a decision on adjustments made as soon as possible.
Online comments and suggestions will be accepted for about two weeks.
“I felt like it would be a good next step to get more community-wide input,” Barker said.
The site gives an overview and history of the school property tax, as well as a link to the Coweta Tax Assessors Office.
“We feel like it’s important that we do not answer the questions about the exemption status as it exists now,” Barker said. “We want those questions to go to the tax office to be able to explain the process.”
The tax assessor’s office provided an estimate of the impact of the school system exemption if it is raised by certain levels, Barker said, and those scenarios are included on the site. He stressed that the public is not being asked to vote on anything.
“You are being asked to review it and share any pros and cons the board should consider before making any decision,” he said.
And the board of education doesn’t make the final decision, either.
“The matter would ultimately go to our state delegation to be voted on in the state legislature,” Barker said.
If passed, it would be placed on the ballot next year for the voters to decide.
“We just initiate the process if the board wishes to,” Barker said.