Board seeks revenues

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 18, 2011

NATCHEZ — The Adams County Board of Supervisors asked Adams County Tax Collector Peter Burns how to collect more tax revenue during his visit to Wednesday’s budget meeting, which Burns attended to request pay raises for his employees.

Burns answered questions from the board about ways his office can collect unpaid taxes for personal property.

Personal property generally applies to businesses and includes all tangible goods — such as inventory — except real estate.

Email newsletter signup

County Administrator Joe Murray asked Burns if a field agent could go door-to-door to collect the funds rather than send further notices in the mail.

“A lot of (tax) notices go right on top a pile of other bills,” said Murray, who was formerly employed at the Mississippi Department of Revenue.

The board received a report Tuesday from the tax assessor’s office that many businesses fail to pay their personal property tax.

Burns said businesses owners receive statements in the mail for personal property similar to other forms of taxes.

District 5 Supervisor S.E. “Spanky” Felter said publishing names of those delinquent tax payers in the newspaper would prompt them to pay what’s owed.

By law the names of individuals who become delinquent with their real estate property taxes must be printed legally, Burns said, but he would have to check on the legality of printing names for those who default on business personal property taxes.

Board President Darryl Grennell said the former tax collector used to publish names of those failing to pay business personal property taxes in the newspaper.

Burns said printing the names reminds residents to pay their taxes as well as providing an incentive to avoid embarrassment.

At the board’s request, Burns said he would soon report to them exactly how much the county is losing in uncollected personal property taxes.

The board also discussed lost revenue from car tags.

District 2 Supervisor Henry Watts said he wondered what Louisiana requires to attain a car tag, since many Adams County residents seem to get away with driving cars with Louisiana tags.

John Seyfarth, the only member of the public who attended the meeting, said constables can enforce the car tag issue as long as the driver has a Mississippi driver’s license.

Burns said the law says cars that “sleep” in Mississippi on a regular basis should have a Mississippi car tag.

Burns also asked for raises for his five employees.

He said the job requires his employees to deal with the sometimes-angry public, which can be stressful. And the system his employees use is complicated.

The board took the raises under advisement.

Burns also told the board he expected his office would possibly begin accepting credit and debit cards for tax payments in the spring.

Grennell asked Burns if his office was looking into payment of taxes online.

“We’re at that age now,” Grennell said.

Burns said his office would not attempt to take online payments until the after adapting to accepting credit and debit cards at the office.

Also at Wednesday meeting:

4Judge Charlie Vess and Justice Court Clerk Audrey Bailey asked to split a surplus in their current budget among four employees as a raise. The surplus was attained because justice court has been operating with one less employee, Bailey said.

Vess said two deputy clerks earn approximately $8.50, which is just over minimum wage.

Bailey first requested in January that $18,000 in raises be spread among the justice court employees.

Watts said some employees would receive approximately a 20 percent raise if the board grants the requested raises.

Even with the raises, the justice court’s budget was still requesting less money than last year, Bailey said.

The board told Vess and Bailey they would take the pay raises under advisement.

4 The board met in executive session for a few minutes to discuss economic development.