Bay residents get sticker shock with new property taxes

Property reassessment is required by state law once every four years. Bay St. Louis, Diamondhead, Pass Christian, Biloxi, and Diberville cut rates.
Published: Dec. 15, 2021 at 7:03 PM CST
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BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. (WLOX) - Bay St. Louis is growing, and residents and business are feeling it.

One of those is Marian Glaser who has owned her home since 2014. Her latest property tax statement was a shock.

“The moment I saw it I was like, ‘Oh, my God. I can’t believe it’s this much.’ I’m like, ‘What happened?’ I just didn’t know what would cause it to go up, and I kept looking at it seeing if I could see what values changed, but I couldn’t.”

It wasn’t long before she realized she wasn’t alone.

“Actually, I saw other people talking about it on social media,” she said. “That’s when I thought, everybody’s tax must have went up.”

The reason, said Mayor Mike Favre, is higher property values - the biggest one-year jump in a long time.

“The total value went from roughly $3.8 million to $4.5 million,” he said.

A lot of that is from rental homes and second-home owners coming into the area, particularly from New Orleans.

One positive result has been reduced millage rates.

“We were able to lower our millage rate two mills. I think the school board reduced theirs six mills; and the county reduced theirs three mills. So there was around 12 mills reduced. But still, overall, there was significant increase in a lot of properties,” Favre said.

Like the Bay, leaders in several other cities lowered millage rates to offset the tax bill for property owners – Diamondhead, Pass Christian, Biloxi and D’Iberville - as did supervisors in all three coastal counties. Favre said the increased property tax has given public service a boost.

“We’ve also put two police officers on with that; three firemen; we’ve increased public works - building department,” he said.

However, Glaser is feeling the pinch.

“Well, I really can’t afford it,” she said. “But I’m going to have to do what I can do to make sure I pay it, but it’s a real shock and it’s going to be a real struggle for me to pay it.”

Favre said those 65 and older with homestead exemption have actually seen a decrease in their property tax.

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