Tuesday, June 12, 2007

You Should Be Worried About Your Property Taxes

One of the major sources of revenue for the City of Natchez and Adams County is property taxes. Do you know how they figure how much tax you owe? Last year, I wrote a couple of articles about tax assessments trying to explain how it worked. However, I left out a key component. Who determines the value of your house and property?

In Mississippi, that's what we elect a Tax Assessor for. There was actually a study done on effectiveness of Tax Assessors, and it ranked the states. Amazingly, Mississippi was not at the bottom, but slightly below average. What we have done right is to have it done on a county level and by an elected, rather than appointed, tax assessor. What we need to improve is enforceable state standards.

Basically, what this means is that it's up to us to vote in a competent Tax Assessor. We will have that opportunity on August 7. If you don't learn about the candidates and, even worse, if you don't vote, then I don't want to hear any griping about taxes. How you vote is secret, but whether you vote is public record.

This time the outcome will be determined on August 7. There will be no runoffs and no generals, because there are only two candidates and they're both Democrats. So if you don't vote in the Democratic primary, you'll have no say in how your taxes are determined.

Let's look at the candidates. Challenger Jerry Lyles is running against incumbent Reynolds Atkins.

I'll start with the challenger, because he worries me a lot. In the last election in 2003, Lyles ran against Sammy Cauthen for Supervisor District 1. I thought he was impressive, but I didn't feel like I knew much about him. I knew Sammy Cauthen and had no significant cause for complaint, so he got my vote.

In March 2004, Lyles was arrested and charged with three counts of false voter registration, for which he could have been jailed for 3 years and fined $15,000. When he went to court, he ran ads on television asking supporters to show up to support him, for which he was admonished by the judge.

"This is a court of law and will be conducted as such. This is not a circus, not a political meeting, and not a Jerry Lyles Jr. meeting. Nothing is decided by the number of supporters you turn out for court. The court decides the cases fairly. It was an outrageous and poor decision on your part. Your actions show a lack of respect for the court and were not very smart."

In June, Lyles pled guilty to one count of registering a voter who did not live in the county. The judge sentenced him to one year's probation, and at the end of that year, his record was expunged. I saw no jail time or fines mentioned. (Doesn't this sound familiar?)

Because his record was expunged, he can legally run for office. Another confessed criminal is running for office. Have these people no shame? Although his crime is not as heinous as that of Vile Vines, I really do not want a criminal determining my taxes. He was interviewed by the paper for an article on this race, and of course his past was brought up. Do you know what he had the nerve to say? "Mistakes were made." I hate that phrase and anyone who uses it. Not "I made a mistake". No, those mistakes just made themselves. It means he does not acknowledge his crimes, nor does he have any remorse. Therefore, he could easily do it again.

Do you realize how open this office is to abuse? What do you think will happen if his supporters go in and tell a tale of woe? Will their assessment be reduced? How often will that happen? We'll never know, because we can't challenge or investigate every property assessment. If this man is elected, hold on to you wallets, because to make up for any favors he might do for his friends, the rest of us will have to pay more. People like me who openly oppose him might find our assessments magically increased. Of course, we have the right to appeal, but who knows what will happen in the Natchez courts.

Plus, he's going to cost us more money from the getgo. He's going to have to contract out the assessments, since he doesn't even know how to assess property. Or even worse, try to do it himself after he's taken a little course.

In my next post, I'm going to tell you about Reynolds Atkins and why I love him to death!


crabby said...

We should be worried about the people who are able to circumvent the law.Elected or running for office. Keep up the good work

Anonymous said...

"Mistakes were made," is the premiere example of the newest tense in the English language: the PASSIVE EXONERATIVE. It has become extremely popular of late, both in domestic situations (The wine got spilled.) as well as in federal cases (Allegations of weapons of mass destruction were somewhat overstated.).

Anonymous said...

Jerry Lyles may well win since many will vote Republican in the first primary. Rest assured, this was well planned in the beginning.

Then taxpayers will have another expensive circus. Like city government is now.

Anonymous said...

A few Facts I have found out about our tax assessors race, Lyles has no appraisal experience if he were to be elected he would have to hire out an appraisal company costing Adams County about 400,000 just to do his job, Mr Atkins on the otherhand is the ONLY assessor in Mississippi to do his OWN WORK saving the county 1.2 million in 12 yrs, IS THERE ANY QUESTION WHO NEEDS TO BE RE ELECTED....

Anonymous said...

It's too bad many of us are forced to vote in a Republican primary and can't vote for Atkins. Who is the Brooks man who is forcing us to have to go Republican to vote for Sammy Cauthen in the Primary?

Anonymous said...

Years ago Jerry Lyles looked at a piece of property I had for sale.
He liked it and said he would take it. I requested he put that in writing, with a deposit. Jerry said,no problem. Jerry told me about his successful trucking co., his other business ventures, his marvelous relationship with the bank. Jerry stated the bank had already granted him the loan and he would have the deposit on Monday. On Monday he said he would have it Wed. The problem was the bank officer. Hmmm! I called the bank officer. Yes, she knew Jerry L. Yes, he had come in, a month ago, to talk with her, but he was NOT approved, he did NOT have a loan. He was stalling her with stories of assets and collateral that he had. Interestingly, he was never able to verify or produce these assets. Hmmm.

This man obviously fancies himself as something he is not and will go to any means to fulfill his need to be "important", his need to be "somebody". Can the taxpayers of Ntz afford another dillusional leader.
For the most part, I believe that people are capable of rational thought. ( I try to be a positive thinker)
The other people are the ones I am concerned about. Sadly, it is not about qualifications, but about your color and who you know. The dillusion lives that if enough candidates of color are elected, the scales will be balanced and
prosperity, for all, will reign in the kingdom. Good Luck with that.

Anonymous said...

This "Brooks guy" has a not so desireable track record himself and according to local gossip is a put up candidate by the Peter Rinaldi group determined to get Sammy out of office.

I love Sammy to death but gonna have to vote Democrat this time for Atkins.

Lyles as Tax Assessor would be devastating to Adams County. I KNOW HIM and have for years.

oracle said...

I made one attempt to observe a meeting of our city government.

That was the night of the grand performance when out elected black officials walked out due to some trivia that didn't suit them. That was my first and last attempt.

If Jerry Lyles gets elected Tax Assessor, you ain't seen nuthin yet.

The Judge that expunged his record should be in jail.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous Rebublican,

My spouse and I are Republican. So come election day we are going to ignore the person(s) "forcing" us to throw away Adams county to Mr. Lie. We are voting for the best man for the job. And the this time it is a Democrat, Mr Atkins.

Anonymous said...

A good friend of mine who works hard to stay on top of the town talk told me yesterday, an acquaintance of his is a friend of this "Brooks man", who told him he has been offered 5M to drop out of this race but is holding out for 10M.

Now that is what we need in office, right?

He'll get the anti Sammy votes and maybe a dozen of his own. Rinaldi and his negative news (thats seldom fair and balanced)ain't real popular either.

Anonymous said...

Is this the same Peter Rinaldi who endorsed Jerry Lies four years ago for supervisor in his newspaper? My wife calls it the Scandal News, I call it the Natchez Enquirer.

Is it obvious who he's supporting this time? Must be nice have a professional journalist write your political statements for you.

Lets face it folks we have the same situation for Tax Assessor that put Buckethead West in the Mayors office.

They have it figured out and we will probably have another deadbeat for taxpayers to support.

Anonymous said...


* Jerry Lyles owns NO property in Adams County
*Jerry Lyles is endorsed by Buck Pintard and Dr Alton Hall,not Rinaldi
*Paul Brooks convicted of embezzelment from Main St Fitness
*Anyone who Votes republican on Aug 7th has no say in Natchez or Adams County politics, you can only elect one local candidate,you cannot vote in Democratic Runoff,In november you can vote for the best candidate, (OPEN PRIMARY) Republicans CANNOT CROSS OVER,(VOTE IN RUNOFF) which has happened in the past.
*The leading republicans in Adams County will not follow party lines just ride by there houses and see what candidates they support, guess what they are democrats, for sherriff,tax assessor, and other races.
* Paul Brooks will not beat Sammy Cauthen ..... He cant pull 25 votes

Anonymous said...

Slinky Vines
Jerry Lies
Paul Crooks

Are all confessed criminals. Why are they even walking the streets let alone running for public office?

How have we allowed this to happen in this town? Its past time to wake up and bring JUSTICE back to the courts. Crooks are crooks and no other way to describe them.

2007 should be known as the year "CRIME" ran for office!!

oracle said...

My black friends tell me the younger educated blacks, looking for a more peaceful and profitable life look at the issues and candidates.

They don't follow who "mama or da preacher" said to vote for.

Older blacks and the radicals will vote for Lyles if he was guilty of murder and child molestation.

This election will tell the tale for sure.

p.s. Alton Hall notoriously backs losers. "birds of a feather etc."

Anonymous said...

Let me annonce I am a older black man, this writing is by my grandaughter.

Oracal is right about young educated black peoples. they are beginning to know the old ways don't wrok. If you can get them off they beer and drugs and rap music to vote the will vote whats right without be in told who they vote for.

If there is to be law and order it will be under white mans rule. I get sick watching Jackson news nitely, look at New Orleans.

I will not vote Binkey Vines or Jerry Lyles thats asking for more trouble. I would rather company of Bill Cosby than Jessie Jackson. I would sin my name but my neighbor just left asking for a Lyles sign i my yard and I told her no. Black people are waking up and its time it happens.

Sign me, the black man that always think for himself not led by anyone.

Anonymous said...

I'll believe blacks vote responsibly when I see it.

In this county, the black vote goes to the black candidate. No blacks running it goes to whitey forking out the most cash.

Qualifications, experience, and criminal history mean nothing to most of them. No rational thinking at all, just put the "brother" in.

Slavery got started when "brother" sold them to whitey in the beginning. Blockheads.

Anonymous said...

So, Whitey, how many blacks have you voted for?

Anonymous said...

I agree with a previous anonymous on voting republican for one office only. Thats silly.

I have voted republican for 30 years but not this time theres too much at stake.

This one scenario could ruin this election for many good qualified (non-criminal)candidates.

Anonymous said...

To Black Man who thinks for himself. Kudos...because you form your own thoughts and opinions. I would say that is freedom.
I traditionally have voted Republican. This Ntz election I will be voting Democratic.