Fayette’s property values fall 11.65% since 2009

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Fayette County’s economic picture developed some new shadows in recent weeks. June saw the worst jobless numbers on record while, last week, the county’s tax digest figures for 2011 were released, showing a second year of declining property values.

In all, the fair market value of properties across Fayette County has fallen 11.65 percent since 2009.

As a whole, the fair market value of all real estate property and structures in Fayette County for 2011 totals $12,695,641,910, according to information provided by Fayette County Tax Commissioner George Wingo.

That compares to just two years ago when the value was $14,369,133,088. That represents a difference of more than $1.67 billion, or a decrease of 11.65 percent in value during the two-year period.

The drop in value for two consecutive years is the first in modern history for Fayette County. And now coming two years in a row, the results are a clear indicator of why tax-collecting entities in Fayette continue to scramble to cut corners and decrease spending.

Since local governments collect a percentage of the value of private properties within their jurisdictions, when property values go down, the tax collections also go down. That means to produce the same amount of revenue as in previous years, local governments must either raise tax rates or cut budgets, or both.

Fayette County has mirrored the growth of metro Atlanta for decades now. As Atlanta and Hartsfield Airport grew, so did Fayette. But the recession that supposedly ended caught up with Fayette County in 2010.

Last year was the first time that Fayette County’s overall property digest lost value, falling from a fair market value of $14.369 billion in 2009 to $13.207 billion in 2010. The fall continued into this year, though to a lesser degree than in 2010, with tax digest figures out last week showing another fall to $12.696 billion.

But what about the county’s municipalities and the unincorporated areas? They all lost value.

Peachtree City fared best over the two-year period with the unincorporated county and Fayetteville taking the larger hit.

Peachtree City over the past two years saw its value decrease by 6.4 percent, down from a fair market value of $5.057 billion in 2009 to $4.732 in 2011.

Unincorporated Fayette County saw the largest decline in value for the two-year period, falling to $4.993 billion in 2011 from a high of $5.874 billion in 2009, a decrease of approximately 15 percent.

Fayetteville’s decrease was nearly as precipitous, with the fair market values peaking at $2.320 billion in 2009 and falling to $1.991 billion in 2011, a difference of approximately 14.2 percent.

Tyrone came out a bit better, but not by much. Figures for 2011 showed a value of $913.89 million, a 12.5 percent decrease from the $1.044 billion just two years go.

And in Brooks, the 2009 value of $73.2 million dropped approximately 11.5 percent to approximately $64.8 million in 2011.