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Property values in city, county fall again

Published 11:38 am Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Property values in Warren County rose less than half of 1 percent in 2014, officials said Monday, signaling the start of another prickly summer budget session for county lawmakers.

Real property was assessed at $315.4 billion this year, up from $314.2 billion in 2013, Tax Assessor Angela Brown told county supervisors during this month’s regular meeting. Personal property, or any taxable asset not tied to land such as inventories held by businesses, took a minuscule dip this year. That came in at $122,654,221 billion this year, or $12,576 less than 2013.

The new figures confirmed the fourth straight year of lower property values, all either 1 percent or smaller. Commercial construction new to the tax rolls for 2014 was limited; Chick-Fil-A on Halls Ferry Road and a Dollar General store on Pemberton Square Boulevard were the most significant structures built from the ground up. Halls Ferry Junction strip mall, next to the chicken chain, came on the tax rolls last year.

“From the looks of our rolls, I think we’re going backwards,” Board President Bill Lauderdale said. “Our cost of living has gone up more than our revenue has.”

Whether real property taxes are held steady for 26,000 or so property owners countywide in relation to the nearly flat-lined development will play out during summer budget talks.

No budget talks with individual departments have been scheduled as of Monday, and supervisors must wait until the Vicksburg Warren School District’s request for cash to help fund the public school system. The requests typically arrive to supervisors in August. In June, the school board OK’d 4 additional mills to the district’s millage rate to cover a $4.78 million deficit. The county’s $15 million budget for 2013-14 had included a property tax hike of $4 for every $100,000 in assessed value to comply with a $26 million request from VWSD.

County officials meet formally in the board room today through Friday to check paper copies of the tax roll in each district. Once the rolls are declared equalized, they are available for inspection in the chancery clerk’s office for 30 days, during which any taxpayer who objects to the assessment may file a written objection through Aug. 11. The board is expected to hold a hearing no later than Aug. 18 to consider any objections.