LAWRENCEVILLE -- Property assessment notices will be in the mail by the end of the week, but don't expect to figure out your taxes from it.
County officials warned Tuesday that the legally required notices intended to help people plan for tax season will not accurately reflect August tax bills, since the county plans to change its system to reflect services.
State law requires that the notices show an estimated tax value based on the previous year's millage rate. But a service delivery lawsuit settlement with local cities means the county will no longer charge three millage rates. Instead, services will be split into six rates, with residents in cities getting a break on some of the charges.
While rates have not been set, some city residents are expecting to see a lower total bill, since residents of cities with their own police force will not pay for the county service. Residents of Loganville will no longer pay for the county fire service, and residents of any city will be free from the county development and enforcement charge.
Residents of unincorporated areas of the county are expected to see a total tax increase to make up for the city residents' tax break.
But the notices of assessment, which show any change to the value of person's home or commercial property, will not reflect the new tax system.
Finance Director Maria Woods said state officials are very strict on the form of the document, but they did allow the county to note that taxes will be based on the location of the property.
Final numbers on the 260,000 notices have not been tallied, but Woods said the assessments have been in line with a project 1.9 percent drop in the county's tax digest, continuing the downward trend of the past five years.
"I know this is going to be confusing, at best," Commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash said of the notices.
County officials said they hoped to get the word out to the public via its website and cable television stations, as well as newsletters.