Adams County taxes on par with others

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 23, 1999

Adams County is about average among Mississippi counties in the amount of tax it levies, said Sid Smith, director of the Property Assessment Bureau of the Mississippi State Tax Commission.

An assessment of overall county tax millage shows that Adams County is only slightly above the state average. The state average for 1998-1999 is 96.23, while Adams County’s millage rate is 97.42.

The difference between Adams County’s tax millage and the state average would be approximately $12 for a house assessed at $100,000.

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&uot;Adams County ranks 32nd in overall tax growth in the state,&uot; Smith said.

Growth in business and industry in some counties helps to offset the tax burden for individual taxpayers, Smith said. Those counties that experience industrial growth may also experience some of the highest tax growth as well.

Statewide, Mississippi has been growing, he said. &uot;Gaming counties are experiencing growth, but then so are the little counties,&uot; Smith said. &uot;People are selling property in the gaming counties and buying property in the smaller counties.&uot;

From 1996-1998, while Adams County’s residential real estate ad valorem taxes increased only 4 percent, Warren County’s residential ad valorem taxes increased 38 percent in the same time period. Statewide, residential real estate assessments only increased 10 percent.

&uot;But you have to consider that Warren County has also seen more growth in that time period,&uot; said Paul Smith of the Property Assesment Bureau of the State Tax Commission.

&uot;I know that Warren County went through a reassessment that dramatically changed their tax base,&uot; he said.

Despite Warren County’s dramatic increase in tax over the last three years, the county still maintains one of the lowest millage rates for a county of its population of 50,400. On that same $100,00 house, Warren’s millage rate of 77.71 reflects a difference of $195 from Adams County’s 97.42.

Ad valorem taxes for all Mississippi counties from 1989-1998 show that Adams County has grown 25 percent over the nine-year period, while statewide, total ad valorem taxes have increased 34 percent.

&uot;The question was asked during the public hearing on the fiscal year 2000 budget about whether our millage was higher than other counties,&uot; said Virginia Salmon, president of the Adams County Board of Supervisors.

&uot;As reflected in the records, Adams county hasn’t experienced the increases that other counties have.&uot;

Salmon said supervisors evaluate county expenditures before a proposed budget is ever presented for public consideration.

&uot;Supervisors work on the budget weeks before the public ever sees a proposed budget,&uot; she said. &uot;The board does work diligently and sincerely to maintain as lean a budget as we can and still work effectively.&uot;

In setting taxes for the county, Smith said supervisors may not take in more than 10 percent above what they collected the previous year in taxes.

&uot;These laws equalize the tax burden so that no one county is taxed significantly higher or lower than any other,&uot; he said.

In 1998, the state’s highest tax bill went to Hinds County with $1,364,891,240, and the lowest assessment was in Issaquena County located just north of Vicksburg with only $17,588,588.

In 1990 census, Hinds County had a population of 254,441 and Issaquena had a population of 1,909.

Across the board, over half of all county tax bills go to education, Smith said.