Purchase of old IP property will cost County $135K in taxes

Published 12:09am Friday, July 26, 2013

NATCHEZ — When Adams County officials take possession of the former International Paper property from Rentech next month, they will also be taking approximately $135,000 in annual taxes off the rolls.

In addition to the $9.25-million bond the county is taking out to pay for the 478-acre property, taxpayers may end up picking up the tab on the property’s security and maintenance.

In a May statement to Rentech company investors, the company’s chief executive officer, D. Hunt Ramsbottom said selling the site would not only make the company money from the sale but would save approximately $800,000 annually in expenses related to the site.

Rentech Spokeswoman Julie Dawoodjee Cafarella said she could not discuss specifics about those expenses, but that in general terms those costs included taxes, security, repairs and maintenance, insurance, utilities and labor.

While $135,000 of the $800,000 in expenses was taxes, Adams County Board of Supervisors President Darryl Grennell said he did not know if the remainder of the balance would translate into similar costs for the county.

Maintenance costs include keeping grass suppressed in an environmentally sensitive area and maintaining a pipeline on the property, Grennell said.

Natchez Inc. Executive Director Chandler Russ has previously said he and other officials are evaluating if the pipeline should be marketed as an asset or scrapped, and Grennell said Thursday that process is ongoing.

“The only thing I know we will have to do for sure is maintain some kind of security out there,” he said.

“We are hoping we will get an industrial prospect on that property as soon as possible to help offset some of those costs.”

County Administrator Joe Murray said he is not concerned about the loss of a potential $135,000 in annual tax revenue from the property coming into the county’s possession.

“To say that you are going to lose $130,000, you don’t know — we may see that but we may turn around and sell half of it and get it back on the rolls,” he said.

Murray said the county has several new properties coming onto the tax rolls that may offset the loss, but that property valuations fluctuate every year.

“You always have some additions and some deletions (from the property rolls), but we have had several new properties that have come on in the last year, so hopefully the assessed valuation of property county-wide is going to increase,” Murray said.

“In the grand scheme of things you hate to lose tax revenue — $135,000 is not an insignificant amount of money — but I think we will gain that double or triple in the next couple of years.

The property transaction is set to close Aug. 12.