By Sylvia Hall - bio | email
OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - For many Jackson County residents, last year's property taxes are more than an unpleasant memory. They are a source of financial unrest. Property taxes increased an average of more than thirty percent this year, after county-wide property value reappraisals. Ocean Springs was one of areas hardest hit by the tax hikes.
"The residents here in Ocean Springs need help and I think now is the time that help could be used the most," said Ward 2 Aldermen Matt McDonnell. "Particularly with what's going on in the economy, people losing their jobs."
McDonnell said he still hears complaints about the increase. He likes an idea suggested by Jackson County Tax Assessor Benny Goff for a partial re-appraisal, which McDonnell thinks could help lower some appraised property values early. McDonnell presented a resolution to the Board of Aldermen Tuesday night in support of the partial reappraisal.
"I'm asking that we send a resolution in support of what Bennie Goff is suggesting," McDonnell said to the Board. "And at the same time, I'd like to send a resolution to the other municipalities requesting for the same type of resolution to go to the county."
City officials said, already this year, they've collected much more property tax revenue than they anticipated receiving - more than $700,000 above expectations. Ocean Springs Mayor Connie Moran said at the meeting that the surplus was due to conservatively budgeting for less revenue than the Tax Assessor had projected. Instead, they are receiving more than expected.
"I feel that we calculated it wrong," McDonnell said. "I think that maybe other bodies may have done the same. We were too conservative in our evaluation estimates and I believe that that money should be returned to the taxpayers, and that can be done through lowering millage which will take place in September."
The Board of Aldermen did not decide to lower the millage rate at Tuesday's meeting. They did, however, unanimously pass a resolution in support of a partial reappraisal in Jackson County. The City of Ocean Springs will also send letters to other county cities suggesting that they do the same.
The resolution to support reappraisal passed unanimously.