Assessed property value increases in county

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 16, 2001

Adams County’s assessed property value has increased by about $7 million since 1999, Reynolds Atkins said Tuesday.

&uot;It was more than I expected,&uot; said the Adams County tax assessor.

The Adams County Tax Assessor’s office just completed reappraisal of the nearly 18,000 parcels in the county. The action was in response to a 1998 mandate from the Mississippi Tax Commission.

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&uot;We walked on every piece of property in this county,&uot; Atkins said.

Counties have until 2002 to complete the reappraisals. For Adams County, this was the first complete reappraisal since 1987, Atkins said.

Assessed value in Adams County usually increases about $1 to $3 million a year through natural growth, Atkins said.

The $7 million increase over the past three years was due in part to expired industrial tax exemptions which brought Adams County’s total assessed property value to about $210 million, Atkins said.

Despite the increase, Atkins said the reappraisal does not necessarily mean bad news for taxpayers.

&uot;When a person thinks of reappraisal they think ‘Oh God taxes are going up’ and that’s not necessarily true,&uot; Atkins said, adding that sometimes property values for tax purposes actually decrease.

&uot;I would go through whole subdivisions where the values would go down,&uot; Atkins said.

And since the Mississippi Tax Commission approved the results of Adams County’s reappraisal in July, other benefits to taxpayers can go into effect.

For example, homestead exemption can now increase from $240 to $300 for houses valued above $60,000, Atkins said. People who are 65-years-old or older or permanently disabled will also get an extra break.

The tax exemption for those homeowners will now increase from $60,000 to $75,000. For example, such taxpayers would not pay any property tax if officials cited the market value of their house at $75,000 or less, Atkins said.

The state approved this change because of the impact of the reappraisal.

&uot;They knew that a lot of these properties were going to go up (in value),&uot; Atkins said.

And if that took place, some people might be forced to pay taxes for the first time, Atkins said.

An added bonus is the money Adams County saved by performing the reappraisal with county employees.

Because of the state mandate, many counties hired private companies to conduct reappraisals. But Atkins, who worked as an appraiser before running for the tax assessor’s office, said his office avoided that expense by conducting in-house appraisals.

By doing so, Adams County was able to save about $240,000 not including about $60,000 in following years to perform maintenance to the tax rolls.

Maintenance includes adding improvements to the tax rolls &uot;which could be (anything) from a swimming pool, a barn, to a room on their house or a complete renovation,&uot; Atkins said.