• County error raises stink among DeKalb homeowners

    By: Manuel Bojorquez


    DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - An old error is raising new questions for some DeKalb County taxpayers.

    Last month, about 500 residents looking to appeal their property values did not receive enough notice of their hearing dates.

    The letters were postmarked on a Friday, for a hearing the following Monday.

    By law, residents are supposed to get 21 days notice and officials said affected taxpayers would be rescheduled, without an effect on their appeal.

    One of those taxpayers, Susan Blackwell, got a letter this week.

    She thought it was her new hearing date, but got a shock instead.

    "It's telling me because I did not appear on March 5, I've lost my appeal. It just proves to me that DeKalb County is trying to do everything they can to make it difficult for the homeowner to appeal their value," she said.

    Channel 2 Action News spoke with DeKalb County Clerk of Superior Court, Debra DeBerry, who said the latest letter was automatically generated by the old glitch and should be disregarded.

    "Everyone will have their chance to be heard," DeBerry said.

    She said those affected by the previous error have indeed been rescheduled, but the letters have not gone out yet.

    The new notices will be in the mail within the next few weeks, with the proper notification, she said.

    DeBerry acknowledged there have been some growing pains from switching to a new system to accommodate the surging number of appeals.

    She said the number this year is close to 20,000 -- in other years, it was 1,000 to 5,000.

    Still, Blackwell is concerned about her case.

    "They're making it challenging for the homeowner," she said.

    DeBerry apologized for any confusion in Blackwell's case, but said anyone with questions regarding their appeal hearings should call her office or the Board of Equalization for clarification.

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