Jackson Co. may have to cut budget due to Ad Valorem tax loss - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Jackson Co. may have to cut budget due to Ad Valorem tax loss

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

By Patrice Clark – bio | email

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Jackson County supervisors will have to tackle this upcoming budget year with a little less money in the bank.  Ad Valorem taxes are down significantly county-wide.  County officials say it's a ripple effect from the recent housing market slump.

Street repair projects, law enforcement needs, and recreational activities in Jackson County could all see major cuts because of the recent drop in Ad Valorem tax dollars.

"Ad Valorem taxes are somewhat of our base. It is the way we raise money to do the service we do for our county," Supervisor Melton Harris said. 

In 2009, the county was worth $6.52 billion, now it's $6.48 billion. Jackson County officials say that's more than a $46 million dollar difference. 

"Anytime your value drops, that means you are not going to have the same amount of money to deal with," Harris said. "I think neither of the supervisors, out of the five, would say we would want to entertain the idea of raising taxes at this point in time." 

The county blames the decrease on the unpredictable housing market. Foreclosures are also up 50 percent. 

"If you have foreclosures, that is going to affect property values. If you bring property values down and the assessments decrease, then there is less area there to collect money from," Real Property Director Nicholas Elmore said.

Nicholas Elmore works for the county tax assessor's office. He said this is the first time since Katrina there's been a decrease. 

"It is going take an uptick in the market; people are going to have to start buying again." 

But even that solution won't be much help right now, with budget preparations beginning next week. 

"We have to make some changes somewhere. We are not exactly sure where we can make it, but there is no doubt we will be looking for places where we can trim fat," Harris said. 

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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