Taxes come in $400K short for county

Published 12:01 am Saturday, July 23, 2011

NATCHEZ — In his 16 years as Adams County tax assessor, Reynolds Atkins said this year’s $3.2 million drop in the assessed tax value of property in the county was the worst he has seen yet.

The drop will mean approximately $400,000 less will be collected by the Adams County Board of Supervisors compared to last year, Supervisor Henry Watts said at a board meeting earlier this week.

“It was not a good year,” Atkins said.

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The majority of the loss — about $2 million — came from Mississippi River Pulp, Atkins said.

MRP bought Mississippi River Corporation in May 2010, and MRP took equipment off the tax rolls. The equipment, although previously taxed, was either no longer at the site or not working.

Atkins said he sent employees to the site to verify the equipment was gone, and they determined Mississippi River Pulp’s assessed value needed to be lowered.

In addition, revenue from car tags and mobile homes, which are taxed at 15 percent, dropped significantly, Atkins said.

“Car tags took a big lick this year for some reason,” Atkins said.

Atkins said he guessed citizens were not buying cars because of the struggling economy.

The county’s only increase, Atkins said, was in the assessed value of real property, which includes houses and land. The assessed value of real property for this year was approximately $200,000 more than last year, he said. Real property is taxed at 10 percent, Atkins said.

Chancery Clerk Tommy O’Beirne made the board aware at Monday’s meeting of the decrease in the value of tax assessments.

Watts said at the meeting that some county departments, which are beginning to submit their proposed budgets, seem to be over budgeting.

“This is a warning that (the county is) $400,000 short,” Watts said.