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Avondale and Decatur both see 20 percent growth in tax digest

Annexation and new cities Avondale Estates Decatur

Avondale and Decatur both see 20 percent growth in tax digest

Photo provided by Atlanta INtown.
Photo provided by Atlanta INtown.

Photo provided by Atlanta INtown.

Decatur and Avondale Estates are each reporting similar growth in their overall tax digests, and the recent annexation of property in both cities is at least partially responsible.

The effect of annexation on the tax digest seems to be greater in Avondale Estates than Decatur, according to the top administrators of both cities.

The city of Decatur reported that total property values have grown 20 percent over last year. Assessment notices went out on May 29.

Avondale Estates noted a similar increase in an email to residents about the city’s millage rate, saying City’s total digest shows an increase of 20.2 percent from last year.

Growth in Decatur’s tax digest was expected, given the desirability of the city’s school system and increasing real estate values. But Avondale Estates, which is in the county school system, has experienced a growth spurt of its own. Avondale City Manager Clai Brown attributed the growth to the city’s recent annexation of the Stratford Green town homes, which brought about 154 town homes into the city.

“That biggest jump was annexation of Stratford Green,” Brown said.

A chart released by the city shows the city anticipates the highest percentage increase of net taxes since 2010 …

Historical tax data, provided by the city of Avondale Estates. (Click to enlarge.)

Historical tax data, provided by the city of Avondale Estates. (Click to enlarge.)

Avondale annexed Stratford Green via petition method back in December. The city of Decatur last year also annexed property via the petition method. City Commissioners approved allowing the Parkwood neighborhood to join the city, adding about 77 parcels.

Decatur City manager Peggy Merriss said Parkwood was at least partially responsible for the growth in Decatur’s digest, but said it was not “a significant portion of it.”

“It’s not a significant portion because annexations go into new growth, not revaluation,” Merriss said. “Of the two, about 70 percent of the digest is reevaluation and about 30 percent is new growth. Annexed property is not considered revaluation property.”

The populations of both cities are vastly different, with Avondale consisting of about 3,000 people compared with Decatur’s population of 20,000.

Building and property values are booming in both cities, according to Joyce Lackey, the county appraiser responsible for residential property in Decatur.

Lackey said Decatur’s property values are higher than she’s ever seen them since she started doing appraisals 2007, right before the economy crashed. She said there are homes with 3,000 square feet in Decatur that sold for $785,000 in 2014.

“People are paying a lot more for homes in 2014 than I have seen in the past,” she said.

But Avondale isn’t doing too badly for itself either, she said.

“I know that Avondale is booming,” Lackey said. “I can’t say off the top of my head is it booming the same way Decatur is. Decatur’s doing something this year I’ve never seen.”

Brown said in addition to Stratford, that property values have been steadily rising in Avondale and home construction is up, too.

“We’ve had a lot of new houses, over 12 houses built last year,” Brown said.