The rate of growth in Jackson County’s property tax digest dropped by one-third this year, but the 7.7 percent increase for 2008 was still higher than many expected.
From 2006 to 2007, the county tax digest jumped a huge 22.7 percent and the two years before, 2005 to 2006, it climbed over 14 percent.
With the housing bust and slowing economy, local officials knew the digest wouldn’t grow at those historic rates again this year and in fact, had anticipated a steep drop to between 3-5 percent.
The digest was up higher than that, in large part due to homes that had been started in 2006, before the housing downturn, and were completed in early 2007. Those homes didn’t show up on the 2007 digest and cycled into this year’s numbers.
Officials also said the digest got a bump from the increasing industrial base. Although the county often gives tax abatements to lure industrial development and jobs, those abatements decline over time.
Although the overall tax base was up 7.7 percent, the increase varied according to area. The City of Jefferson saw a healthy 12.6 percent jump while the City of Commerce less than half that rate at 5.6 percent (see Chart 1.) The increase is especially important for the City of Jefferson and its independent school system while the City of Commerce levies only a small city property tax. The Commerce City School System is dependent on property taxes.
Although smaller in dollars, the part of Braselton in Jackson County grew a whopping 38 percent while nearby Hoschton jumped nearly 28 percent. That’s not the entire picture for those two towns, however, since both have property overlapping in other counties. As an indication of recent growth, however, the double-digit increases confirms that the western side of Jackson County has been growing faster than most other areas.
For additional information and charts showing the digest changes, see the July 16, 2008 edition of The Jackson Herald.