Taking Action: Colbert County property value appraisal process explained ahead of millage rate vote

TUSCUMBIA, Ala. -- There’s confusion being spread across Colbert County with an upcoming millage rate increase proposal vote in Muscle Shoals just days away. Some have said property values have increased significantly in order for more money to be brought in if the vote passes.

In the basement of the Colbert County Courthouse, there are more than 40,000 files containing information on parcels of land. It’s the Appraisal Department’s job to make sure each one of them stays current. Every year, 25% of the properties in Colbert County are appraised for their value.

Brian Hall

“If the median number is not at what the state deems as market value, then we have to adjust everybody in that evaluation zone to meet market value,” explained Brian Hall with the Colbert County Appraisal Department.

Take Tuscumbia, for instance. They have seen growth, with new homes being built and sold in recent years. If this year was their evaluation period, property values would increase in that area. Which according to Hall, many have increased in Colbert County.

“This year, the market appears to be robust. The sales indicated that and so that’s why there was an increase,” Hall said.

According to Hall, he follows the Code of Alabama when it comes to how appraisals are performed and when. It’s strictly coincidental residents in Muscle Shoals saw an increase this year prior to the called vote.

“The two have zero to do with each other,” stated Hall. “The millage increase, what a millage rate is, has absolutely nothing to do with this office. My job is the same whether there is no millage or a hundred mills.”

The State Revenue Department is responsible for setting your appraisals and property taxes. And when it comes to millage rate increases, that’s up to a vote of the people.

On Aug. 28, residents of Muscle Shoals will go to the polls to vote either in favor or against a 5-mill increase on property taxes. The school system is asking for the increase to build a new elementary school to replace the two aging schools.