Land trust activity within the context of property tax assessment in Georgia, U.S.A.
Mecham, Columbia Leighelen
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Land trusts work at the grassroots level to conserve land and natural resources. Questions regarding the perceptions of land trust activity among local government officials and the subsequent property tax assessments of protected land have gone unexplored, due in part to a lack of comprehensive statewide information on individual properties. I analyzed data from a statewide land trust census, conducted a qualitative analysis of conservation easements, and carried out a qualitative study using in-depth interviews with county tax assessors. Within the last ten years, land trust activity has grown rapidly in the state, bringing changes in the nature of land protected. With the growth of land trust activity and the development of differential taxation programs for the protection of farm and forestry land, county tax assessors must now measure the public benefit provided by land protection and balance it with the traditional objective of conducting equitable and uniform assessments.