Lauderdale County's Tax Assessor estimates that property values for fiscal year 2012, which started July 1st. of last year and ended Saturday, are down about 2% from the year prior.
'Because of the economic condition we're going through, numerous counties rolls are down,' says Lauderdale County Tax Assessor, James Rainey. 'Jackson counties was down last year, Pearl River County's was down this year substantially compared to ours.'
'The last couple of years we have experienced property values down,' says Joe Norwood, who is president of Lauderdale County's Board of Supervisors. 'Within the last year we did not have any subdivisions erected here in the county and that's one of the reasons and of course, car tags are another reason; they're down right now because people are not been buying a lot of new cars in the past few years.'
Although lower property values can be good for owners who pay taxes, this could create challenges for the county.
'We've trimmed our budget as tight as we can,' says Norwood. 'There's no fat in our budget and right now we're just trying to adjust and make sure that we hold taxes down and continue to provide services for the citizens.'
Starting now (July 2nd) residents can go by the board of supervisors' office and view the newly assessed property values. Anyone wishing to arrange a special hearing with supervisors to dispute the value assigned to his or her property must arrange to do that at least two weeks prior to the board's first meeting in August.
Despite the fact that property values are slightly down within the county, officials say they do not feel this is a forecast for the future.
'The hope is that they (property values) will remain the same. This includes for businesses,' says Rainey. 'So, hopefully as business increases, the values will back up on them some.'
The deadline for residents to request a hearing to dispute their property appraisal is Friday, July 27th. Supervisors are expected to vote on the appraisals at their first meeting next month. That meeting will be held August 6th at 9 AM.