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Mall county's largest taxpayer

By By Sheila Blackmon/The Meridian Star
July 8, 2001
Bonita Lakes Mall was billed more than $890,000 for real property taxes in year 2000, easily earning it distinction as Lauderdale County's single largest taxpayer in the category of ad valorem taxes.
Lauderdale County Tax Assessor Jimmy Slay said the mall's $891,349 tax bill on real property was at the top of a list he compiled. He said there was public interest in such a list and that the county must also supply the information to its bonding companies.
Slay's list was divided into two categories of ad valorem taxes real property and personal property.
Meridian's Avery Dennison offices on Highway 45 North topped the category of personal property taxes with a tax bill of $401,903.
In Mississippi, counties collect taxes on real property land and structures and on personal property inventory, machinery, equipment, furniture and fixtures.
In Lauderdale County, which includes the city of Meridian and town of Marion, the value of personal property is up 4 percent and real property is up 3 percent, Slay said.
The true value of business personal property was listed at more than $361.2 million and the true value of land and structures, both residential and commercial, was more than $1.8 billion, Slay told county supervisors last week.
The taxes collected "help pay the bills," Slay said. "When you consider sales tax revenue and when you consider (state taxes on) payroll and the ripple effect it has, these people have quite an economic impact on Meridian and Lauderdale County, East Central Mississippi and West Central Alabama."
Lauderdale County supervisors are moving toward a July 19 work session at which they will discuss the often sensitive issue of tax equalization. They will hear tax appeals in early August and expect to set a tax levy based on the final numbers and adopt a county budget by Sept. 15.
Three Meridian-based health care operations made Slay's list in real property and personal property categories. Meridian HMA Inc. paid $462,820 in real property taxes, while a personal property tax bill of $190,500 was listed under Riley Memorial Hospital.
Anderson Infirmary Benevolent Association paid $285,997 in real property taxes and Bergen Brunswig Drug Company paid $271,767 in personal property taxes.
Slay said some companies would have been listed higher had he combined figures for real and personal property taxes.
And, he said, land around the mall continues to increase in value.
Sheila Blackmon is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call her at 693-1551, ext. 3275, or e-mail her at sblackmon@themeridianstar.com.

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