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Slay talks about growth areas, millage rates

By By Sheila Blackmon/The Meridian Star
July 9, 2001
The total value of commercial and residential real property and business personal property is on the rise in Lauderdale County and individual values are expected to rise next year following a state-mandated full reappraisal.
Lauderdale County Tax Assessor Jimmy Slay explained to The Meridian Star's editorial board what these increasing values mean to people who live here and to the county budget and tax base.
Slay said the total value of commercial and residential real property land and structures is up 3 percent.
New homes
Slay said 246 new homes were built in Lauderdale County in fiscal year 2000 for a total value of $24,935,590, an average value of $101,364. They will go on the 2001 tax roll. He said 22 additional homes under construction weren't completed in time to be put on the new roll.
Slay said Lauderdale County has five taxing districts Meridian, Marion, Lauderdale County, the Meridian Separate School District (which lies outside the city of Meridian) and the Bonita District, which lies inside Meridian's city limits but the children go to county schools and taxpayers there are taxed accordingly.
He said 200 of the 246 homes were built in Lauderdale County. Within Meridian city limits 36 were built, and 20 of the 36 were built in North Meridian. In the Meridian Separate School District, five were built. There were four built in Marion and one in the Bonita District.
Business growth
Personal property is up 4 percent. Slay said he doesn't know how many of the businesses are new, but expects to have the figure the first of this week. There are 2,252 businesses on the business personal property roll.
Within business personal property values, inventory values are up while machine and equipment values are down, he said.
There is $24 million in leased equipment, Slay said. He said furniture and fixtures increased a bit, but the biggest increase was in inventory.
Next step in the process
Slay said the board of supervisors will open the roll for public inspection July 19. The rolls must be sent to state officials in August. Supervisors will set the tax levy based on the final numbers.
A larger impact on the budget process is expected to come with the completion next summer of a full reappraisal of all property in Lauderdale County.
Slay said the state now requires a countywide reappraisal every four years. This period was mandated after a lawsuit filed several years ago by a man who owned property in several parts of the state; he felt there was no equity in the appraisal process.
Lauderdale County's last full reappraisal was in 1992, and 2002 marks the first year the county will be on the four-year rotation.
Slay said the increased valuation may result in lower millage rates.
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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