JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The tax collector's office is fairly busy these days as Jackson County residents pay their 2008 property tax bills. But tax collector Joe Tucker says there are still many people who have not paid.
Tucker says 6,000 to 7,500 residents haven't paid their taxes. He says if the property owners don't take care of the fees by August 28th, their homes, buildings and vacant land will be put on the auction block.
"It will go to the tax sale. The tax sale will take place in the lobby of the courthouse," Tucker says. "The benefits are the county collects its taxes. We collected last year over $4 million, and that helps with the city and schools and everyone."
Tucker points out that once residents' properties are sold, they still have a two year redemption period before completely losing their land.
"The original taxpayer that owns the parcel, if he wants to redeem it or pay it, he will have to pay penalties, interest, plus Chancery Clerk fees," Tucker says.
Then the bidder who purchased the property at the tax sale will be reimbursed.
"The person gets money back, plus the taxes and interest," says Tucker.
County Supervisor John McKay says many of his constituents are struggling to pay their tax bills, and McKay blames last year's tax hike and the crippled economy.
"We had a 30 to 31 percent increase in the county in property values," McKay says.
Both Tucker and McKay are hoping residents will pay their money soon to keep their properties out of the tax sale.
Tucker says, "It is cheaper for them to pay it, of course. In these economic times, some may not be able to."
McKay says, "I feel sorry for the folks, and I hope they come up with their money because we don't want to see anybody lose property."
Jackson County residents will have until August 28th to pay 2008 taxes at the Tax Collector's Office in Pascagoula. The County's Land Tax Sale will begin August 31st at the Jackson County Courthouse. Bidders are also required to register at the tax office before the sale.
For more information on your current tax amount due or the land tax sale call the Tax Collector's Office at 228-769-3072.