Property Taxes

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Gov. Riley's revenue commissioner is ordering Alabama counties to switch to annual property appraisals. The change is supposed to generate an estimated $457 million in extra tax collections for state and local governments by 2010.

Revenue Commissioner Dwight Carlisle told county revenue officials that the change isn't a cure-all for the state's financial problems, but it will help.

Some county tax officials disagreed. Tuscaloosa County Tax Assessor Doster McMullen said it's nothing but a tax increase.

The governor's spokesman, David Azbell, said the governor is supportive of the change.

Currently, the Revenue Department requires counties to reappraise the value of all property every four years. Because of that, property taxes stay the same for three years and then take a big jump in the fourth year.

Montgomery County is the only Alabama county that does annual reappraisals.

The county's chief appraiser, Tommie Miller, said property owners don't complain about a gradual increase in their property taxes each year, but the system generates more tax revenue. He said the switch to annual reappraisals produced an extra $12 million for Montgomery County during the last eight years.

The switch to annual reappraisals will be phases between 2004 and 2009. The counties scheduled to switch next year are: Autauga, Baldwin, Cullman, Houston, Jefferson, Lee, Mobile, Morgan, Shelby and Tuscaloosa.