Supervisors reviewing tax rolls for new rates

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 6, 2001

[07/06/01] Warren County supervisors have begun the annual process of equalizing tax rolls by checking numbers to assure accuracy.

“From what I’ve seen so far, everything seems to be in good shape,” board president Richard George said.

The five members of the Board of Supervisors, working Thursday, Friday and possibly Monday, George said, randomly selected parcels within their districts and were comparing valuations for 2001 to those from 2000.

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Tax rolls this year show $2,345,555,439 in real and personal property, a 4.5 percent increase from last year.

George said the board will review enough of the properties to establish a pattern and determine if valuations are reasonable and sound.

There are about 27,000 parcels in Warren County, including the city, and about 12,000 of those receive reduced tax rates through homestead exemption, Tax Assessor Richard Holland said. Values are based on what property is selling for in the area.

The next step in the process is to hold an equalization hearing and approve the rolls. The board has until July 26 to complete equalization and approval.

Appeals of assessments listed in the rolls will be heard by supervisors until July 26, and tax rolls will be certified on Aug. 6 and sent to the state tax commission.

Supervisors and the City of Vicksburg will hold budget hearings in August and decide tax rates in September for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.

“It’s all according to what the millage rate does,” Holland said.

Part of the county taxes will fund an increase in money for the Vicksburg Warren School District. The school board last month raised its millage rate by 4 percent, the maximum allowed without requiring a vote, to cover an expected shortfall in state funding to schools. Gov. Ronnie Musgrove has since announced that state funding will not be cut, and local school officials have not said whether the tax increase will proceed or be rescinded.

The increase is expected to generate $716,000 for the school budget, which was set at $62 million. It also means that 37 percent of the school district’s proposed revenue of more than $62 million will come from local taxes.

Separately, Warren County officials have warned a tax increase is possible because of a tax break provided this year by the Mississippi Legislature. The tax-exempt amount on the value of homes belonging to disabled residents or those 65 or older will increase from $60,000 to $75,000. Holland said this week that could create a shortage in county coffers.

In other business, the county:

Approved a request to name a private road off Freetown Road Willie Lane for E-911 purposes.

Approved a request by Under Sheriff Jeff Riggs to hire Jimmy Gouras Urban Planning Consultants at a rate of $100 an hour, but not exceeding $5,000, to update the sheriff’s office’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission plan. The plan must be updated in order to apply for a local law enforcement block grant.

Supervisors will meet again at 9 a.m. on July 16.