Natchez shopping center asks for lower tax bill

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, September 7, 2011

NATCHEZ — Lost income from the two vacated anchor stores of the Morgantown Plaza on U.S. 61 North could mean reduced taxes for the property owners.

But the Adams County Board of Supervisors and tax assessor Reynolds Atkins need a little more time to think about a change to the tax roll.

Elizabeth Jane Hicks representing a law firm from Jackson spoke on behalf of the family who owns the property.

Email newsletter signup

“Big Lots and CVS were the anchor tenants who are now gone from the property,” Hicks said. ��Basically that leaves a shopping mall without two large anchor tenants.”

Hicks said the plaza had 100 percent occupancy in 2005 when the family, who resides in California, purchased the property.

Atkins recently inspected the property, and recommended to the board that a 37 percent reduction of value be applied to the property — to reflect the loss of income by the vacancy the two anchor stores.

“Losing anchor stores are more significant than losing three or four small tenants,” Hicks said. “And the loss of two anchor tenants does more to decrease the value of the property.”

Hicks said the family finds itself in a difficult position.

Atkins said with the tax roll adjustment, the family would receive a tax bill of $53,844 — a discount from the original $66,111 listed on the 2011 tax roll.

Atkins said that if the empty stores were to be reoccupied, the property would be reevaluated and the tax bill would go up again.

Board President Darryl Grennell said the board will take Atkins’ suggestion under consideration.

Also at the meeting, supervisors were asked to be prepared at October’s first regular meeting to submit nominations for the school board position currently filled by Dale Steckler, who, Supervisor Mike Lazarus said, does not wish to be reappointed.

A public hearing on the county budget will be 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

In other news from the meeting:

– The board approved the relocation of a water line on Government Fleet Road to be undertaken by the engineering department.

– Adams County Road Supervisor Clarence “Curly” Jones presented photographs to make the board aware of two road washouts over the weekend — on Lower Woodville Road and Cloverdale Road. Jones said the part of Cloverdale Road that washed out has had problems for years.

“It looks like Geronimo’s cave,” Supervisor Henry Watts said.

Jones and his crew will get to work repairing the roads.

– Watts threw out a warning about special interest groups promoting projects and programs that will raise taxes. Watts said while it sounds good to say that taxes would be raised only $20 per house, that taxes will go up on all other personal possessions too, like vehicles, rental property and equipment.

“Raising tax millages will effect everything,” Watts said. “Beware of special interest groups who say taxes will only go up $20.”

– Brown Bottling Company was named “Business of the Month” by the board and the Natchez-Adams County Chamber of Commerce.

– Dr. David Timm, a local pediatrician, shared concerns over a school-based clinic at Robert Lewis Middle School. He said because the clinic is operated by Jefferson Comprehensive Clinic, that it would take business away from local physicians, provide less adequate care (because there is no doctor to consult with a nurse practitioner) and parents won’t be present, and perhaps won’t be aware, of a child’s visit with a health professional.