This meeting focused on two areas involving property ownership in Hart County.

Karen Martin, Hart County Tax Commissioner, spoke on Buying Property at the Courthouse.  Property which has taxes behind for 3 years is put up for sale once a year at auction unless partial payments are made by the owner.  A company is contracted to do this for the county and the property goes to the highest bidder.

The amount includes past taxes plus the value of the property.  The buyer of the property cannot do anything with the property for a whole year and the previous owner can buy it back during that year for what it was sold for plus 20%.  The contracted company does the auction but prospective buyers must do their own research on such items as liens on the property, etc.

Wayne Patrick, Hart County Chief Appraiser, spoke on Property Appraisals, Assessments, and Property Tax Appeals.  Wayne said about three years ago the property market in Hart County started going ‘crazy’.  New industries coming into the county has made the demand for houses and properties go higher very quickly and the cost of building materials has increased greatly.  The appraiser’s office has found lots of building and improvements being done without permits.  Currently 1/3 of the county  (city, lake, and rural) is appraised each year.  If the county can afford more employees and do all of the county each year the lack of permits would be caught sooner and the assessment process would be more accurate plus make state required annual reporting  easier.