Tax increase affects more than property

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 25, 2000

Property owners are not the only Natchez residents who will be paying more if a planned tax increase is approved. The Natchez Board of Aldermen approved a preliminary budget Tuesday which includes a 22 percent increase in ad valorem taxes.

&uot;Ad valorem means anything of value,&uot; Reynolds Atkins, Adams County tax assessor, said. City taxes are assessed and collected by the county.

Included in ad valorem taxes are real estate, personal property, car tags, mobile homes and public utilities, Atkins said. Real estate, or property, taxes for homeowners who live on the property are assessed at 10 percent of the market value.

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If the property owner rents the real estate to another party, the rate jumps to 15 percent.

City ad valorem taxes are measured in mills. The current millage stands at 33.033 mills for city. Add that to 47.42 mills for the county and 47.98 mills for schools, and the total millage paid by city residents is 128.43 mills.

The planned increase is 7.482 mills, bringing the planned total to 135.71 mills.

The calculated cost in planned city and county ad valorem taxes plus school taxes for a $100,000 home would be $1,357.10 — $72.70 more than before the planned increase.

Personal property taxes are lowered on equipment or inventory of businesses or industries.

Car tag taxes are set and collected by the state, Atkins said.

Public utilities located within the city limits are taxed at a 30 percent rate and are charged to the utility company, not the consumer.

But, since the city owns the Natchez Water Works, the planned tax increase will not affect the amount paid by the water board, or the customer, City Clerk Donnie Holloway said.

Other utility companies serving the city said they would be forced to pass the added cost on to customers by raising rates.

&uot;We don’t know how it’s going to impact us yet,&uot; said Forest Persons, customer service manager for Entergy in Natchez.

In general, tax increases are passed on to consumers, Persons said. &uot;You can only eat so much,&uot; he said.

But, since local rates are based on taxes and usage statewide, the difference in Natchez would be &uot;negligible,&uot; if there was an increase at all, Persons said.

Shakita David, Mississippi Valley Gas Company, also said an increase in the company’s taxes would be passed on to customers.

Before the preliminary budget, including the ad valorem tax increase, can go into effect, a public hearing must be held.