Jackson Co. tax assessor offers property tax break to homeowners

By Patrice Clark - bio | email

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - "We are doing it because it's the right thing to do for the people of Jackson County."

The right thing, says Tax Assessor Benny Goff, is to help Jackson County homeowners hit with huge tax bills this year due to reappraisals.

Goff and his team explained to supervisors how a partial tax adjustment will be done. It's not another complete reappraisal.

"A full blown appraisal of 82,000 to 90,000 takes about a four year cycle," Goff said. "This partial thing, were going to actually look at sales, the actual sales of 2008, and do computer models in neighborhoods to ascertain values."

Goff was clear to warn not everyone will see a property tax cut, even after each neighborhood is recalculated.

"In the wrong neighborhood, they are going to stay about the same, because the sales indicate that the values have not been suppressed. The thing we do is fair and equitable. If a house is three times bigger than the other house, they will pay three times the taxes."

Goff warned, most of the homes in Ocean Springs could see a higher property tax bill next year. The reason, Goff says, is that the homes there are still selling for high prices. That news concerned some supervisors.

"For the people in Ocean Springs, ours is creeping up even under these hard times. You have to be careful what you ask for," Supervisor John McKay said.

Overall, supervisors agreed with the tax assessor that making an adjustment is the right thing to do, especially in tough economic times.

"The values on the books today are the values when we appraised the property. If that's changed, we need to do something," Supervisor Manly Barton said.

Jackson County supervisors say they are also working to lower homeowners property tax bills by cutting the county's mileage rate. The changes don't impact the current tax bills, so there are no refunds coming. The changes will show up when the next property tax bills come out at the end of the year.

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