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New parish tax assessor sworn in

Ben Hillyer/The Natchez Democrat — Family and friends celebrate Jerry Clark’s swearing-in ceremony at the Concordia Parish Courthouse Thursday morning with cake and cupcakes. Clark, below, smiles and laughs during the reception.

VIDALIA — In an area in which elected officials are almost expected to serve for decades, Concordia Parish saw the beginnings of a transition of power Thursday that required 36 years and the retirement of the long-time tax assessor.

Newly elected Tax Assessor Jerry Clark took the oath of office Thursday, sworn in by Judge Kathy Johnson as his wife Kim and daughters Chelsea and Haylee stood at his side.

While he’s new to the top position, Clark is hardly new to the job. He’s worked in the tax assessor’s office since 1977 and has been its chief deputy since 1997.

Clark is replacing outgoing assessor Monelle Mosely, and at his swearing in Clark thanked her for the support she has given him.

“I was always going to run, I was just waiting on her to retire,” Clark said. “Mrs. Mosely was a great help, and her endorsement meant a whole lot.”

Clark also thanked the community for its support and especially his wife — he called her his “backbone” — for standing with him.

“I am grateful to God for giving me the strength and power to do this,” Clark said. “I look forward to getting started, and I will strive to do the job that I have been doing, to treat everybody fairly and give equitable assessments.”

While tax assessor isn’t the most glamorous or high profile elected position, it’s an important one for the parish. The assessments that come from that office will determine not only how much individual property taxes will be, but ultimately how much tax revenue the parish will receive on a given millage.

After taking the oath of office, Clark swore in his deputy assessors, Ollie Jones and Ann Hopkins.

Mosely said she believes Clark will do the job well because he has already done it well.

The outgoing assessor said she would look back on her time in office with fondness.

“It has been great,” she said. “The people have been great to me, and I have enjoyed it very much, serving the people.”

Clark will officially take office Jan. 1.