Eleven protest county tax assessments

Published 11:22 am Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Fewer property owners protested tax assessments by Warren County this year compared to last, but the list of 11 who did is heavy with commercial property and significant employers.

The Board of Supervisors and contract appraisers with the Tax Assessor’s Office will mull for up to 30 days the objections, two of which came from casinos and another three from heavy industry. This year’s complaints were down from 18 filed last year in opposition to appraisals.

The lone entity to address the board Monday was Cooper Lighting, via representative Patrick Price, a tax expert with DuCharme, McMillen & Associates Inc., a nationwide corporate tax consultant.

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Cooper was one of 11 objectors in 2013 who didn’t receive a cut in taxes after a formal protest was filed, while seven other entities were given a tax cut. Price said the lighting products plant on U.S. 61 South was being assessed at $9.8 million this year, or $21 a square foot. The assessment is nearly three times higher than seven commercial buildings in Mississippi the firm looked at, Price said, including the vacant former Simpson Dura-Vent plant at Ceres, which Price said was being offered for $8.37 a square foot.

“Cooper obviously wants to pay its fair share of taxes,” Price told a silent board, which took all 11 protests under advisement. “They’re not seeking any favors or tax breaks. But, for taxation to be equal and uniform, everyone’s property needs to be assessed at fair market value.”

In May, the board granted the company an improvement-related property tax exemption based on nearly $400,000 of new equipment purchased in 2013.


In alphabetical order, the additional protests came from:

• Armstrong World Flooring, who protested values placed on personal property, or inventory, at its plant at the Port of Vicksburg. The company had also protested last year, unsuccessfully.

• DiamondJacks Casino, which protested values placed on personal property, or inventory, at its Washington Street casino. Taxes on its physical plant are the subject of a settlement earlier this year from U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Last year, the casino protested and the assessment was lowered about 6.7 percent.

• General Holdings Inc., which protested real property taxes on a house at 914 Farmer St.

• Hodges Investment Properties, which protested real property taxes at Goggin Warehousing, on U.S. 61 South.

• Lady Luck Casino, which protested taxes at its Warrenton Road casino, plus one parcel of personal property still in the name of Rainbow Casino.

• Diane Pennington, co-owner of residential property at 109 Edgewater Drive, who protested real property taxes there.

• Colette Keller and Trent Alfonte, owners of a former optometry office at 1201 Walnut St., who protested the real property taxes there.

• Vicksburg Hotel LLC, which owns the Portofino Hotel on Mulberry Street. The firm is protesting 10 real property parcels at the facility that reopened earlier this year housing hotels under the Grand Station, Horizon and Harrah’s brand names since 1993.

• Vicksburg Income Properties LLC, which owns retail space at 3405 Pemberton Square Boulevard that’s home to T.J. Maxx, PetSense, Little Caesar’s Pizza and CitiTrends. The group, which also owns the neighboring Vicksburg Mall, is protesting the real property tax assessment.

• Winn-Dixie Properties, which holds the deed on a sliver of property near the back of Medical Associates of Vicksburg. The larger, neighboring building housed Sack and Save grocery for years until a bankruptcy reorganization in 2005 closed the store. Tax maps show the tract at issue is part of the building’s loading dock.

Real and personal values for homes, businesses and farmland in Warren County are up one-half of 1 percent in 2014, reflective of limited commercial development countywide. Supervisors OK’d the land rolls in July.