IP, Johns Manville seek decrease in tax bills

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 4, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; Both International Paper and Johns Manville are petitioning Adams County for a decrease on taxes they pay on land, facilities and equipment at their Natchez facilities, Tax Assessor Reynolds Atkins said Tuesday.

Supervisors are tentatively set to meet later this week on those requests.

Greg Odell of Ryan and Co., which represents Johns Manville, told supervisors Tuesday that his company has compared the sale values of similar industrial properties around the state. In addition, Odell said, &uot;an appraisal was done while Johns Manville was determining what to do with the (Natchez) plant,&uot; a decision that he said still hasn’t been made.

Email newsletter signup

While Atkins at first determined that the property’s adjusted value was more than $4 million, that amount was decreased by $676,000.

For one thing, Odell said, the company has moved much of its equipment from the plant, which closed last year, leaving 138 people out of work.

Supervisors decided to take the matter under advisement after Atkins said he would need to study Johns Manville’s appraisal further to make a recommendation to the board.

Meanwhile, International Paper is asking for the county to cut its ad valorem taxes by half. However, Atkins said he doubts the county will grant additional tax breaks to the mill &045; or would even be able to do so.

After all, he said, 13 of 15 exemptions the company is requesting for its Natchez property are for school taxes and would therefore have to be approved by the school board.

The mill closed July 31, leaving about 640 people out of work.

At this time last year, IP asked for more than $600,000 in tax reductions due to economic obsolescence, which meant the plant did not expect to make money.

While that request was not granted, the discovery that some items on the list of IP’s property were not taxable saved the company more than $237,000 in taxes.

The mill was set to pay almost $2.38 million; the discovery cut that amount to more than $2.14 million.