Sunday, June 17, 2007

You Should Be Worried About Your Property Taxes - Part II

In the previous post, I talked about why I couldn't support Jerry Lyles for Tax Assessor. Now, let me tell you why I wholeheartedly support the incumbent, Reynolds Atkins. (Full disclosure: he is the father of my next door neighbor.)

In my opinion, he is the perfect public servant.

Accessible: He is almost always in his office and will stop whatever he's doing to talk to a taxpayer. When I first moved here, he spent a lot of time explaining to me how taxes work in Mississippi, which is quite different from the way it's done in Maryland, where I moved from. I went to see him several months ago for help writing an article for this blog about how tax assessments are done. He took time to go over the process in detail and answered all my questions. I've been in his office several times, and I've seen him deal with the public.

Honest and Fair: He has never had a complaint lodged against him in his 12 years in office. He's only had 6 appeals in all that time, and none were upheld by the Board of Supervisors. If you point out a mistake to him, he'll correct it. In fact, he pointed out a mistake in mine that I didn't even notice! He has passed all of the state audits on his office with flying colors.

Competent and Experienced: The Tax Assessor appraises property. That's all he does. He doesn't determine how much tax you pay. That's done by the County and City officials. You want someone is that office that knows about and is experienced in appraisals. Reynolds was an appraiser for 17 years before opening Atkins Lumber Co. He went back into appraisals when he was elected Tax Assessor, and he turned his business over to his sons.

When I wrote my previous post, he sent me the following statement and asked me to post it here, which I am happy to do:

Don't be misled!

The Tax Assessor's job is to value property by making property assessments. Jerry Lyles says in his ads that taxes are too high, and he will lower assessments. He could lower property assessments as much as he wants, but it would not change the amount that property owners pay in taxes. The Board of Superviors and the Board of Aldermen and the School Board would just increase the millage (tax rate) to get the money they need for their budgets.

In addition, the Mississippi State Tax Commission audits the Tax Assessor's offices four times a year to determine that assessments are done in a fair and equal manner. If a Tax Assessor does not follow the rules of the Tax Commission, they can decide to turn down the Tax Assessor's tax roll. If this happens, they can withhold all homestead exemption money and the one mill imposed for use for reappraisal ($190,000 a year).

Currently, all appraisals are handled by the me and my staff at no additional cost to the County. This has been a savings of over $1,000,000 in the 12 years I've been in office. Jerry Lyles has no appraisal experience and will find it necessary to hire contract appraisers for about $70,00 per year. In 2009, a reappraisal year, the cost will be over $200,000.

If you have any concerns, questions, or problems with your taxes, please come to our office. We are always available to taxpayers.

- Reynolds Atkins, Tax Assesssor
BOTTOM LINE: The job of the Tax Assessor is to appraise property. Atkins is an appraiser, and Lyles is not. Who do you vote for? DUH!


oracle said...

Without question Mr. Atkins is THE MAN for THE JOB.

In a forward moving city with an enlightened voter base Mr. Atkins would be the winner by a "LANDSLIDE".

We have work to do "HERE", folks.

So, lets roll up our sleeves and get started.

Anonymous said...

Amen Oracle,,,,AMEN.

Anonymous said...

When I first moved to Natchez, He was one of the first people I met, Mr Atkins and his office was extremly helpful, Mr Atkins is a true southern gentleman, with Natchez-Adams County at heart. I call myself a republican, but I will be voting in the democratic primary to Help Mr Atkins and others.

Anonymous said...

If "forward moving" means progressive, and "enlightened" means intelligent. Mr. Atkins competition in the Assessors race would be a felon and unable to run for public office.

I am assuming thats what it means. Yes, there is much work to do, LETS ROLL.

Anonymous said...

I have known Mr.Atkins for many years now. I had the honor of meeting him when he was a baseball coach in the Babe Ruth league of Natchez. In the years that I have known him there is one word that sums him up as a person and that word is INTEGRITY. I am no longer a Natchez resident but I often read this blog to keep up with current events in the area. When I read the previous blogs I wanted to share my opinion, not to sugar coat anything or anyone but just keep it factual. My latest encounter with Mr. Atkins came about a month ago after the death of my stepmother whom was a Natchez resident for the past 30 years and a staunch supporter of Mr. Atkins. When it came time to try and settle her estate one person came to mind and that was Mr.Atkins. My sister and I went by his office to try and get some direction and help in the matter. As soon as he saw us in the front room of the office he dropped everything he was doing and graciously helped us find everything we were looking for to do with property deeds and wills. After talking with him awhile I had discovered that he had already done some of the leg work for us in going through the books looking for paperwork. He made us feel like we were special that day and I know he has to anyone that has ever needed his help.

As I mentioned before, the one word that myself and anyone else that knows Mr. Aktins would choose to describe him is INTEGRITY and that should be the bottom line.

Anonymous said...

How can a person who with malice and forethought, registering (months in advance) over twenty known unqualified voters (fraudulently listing his on office as their residence) be awarded the public trust of fairly determining the value of Adams County property?

Fairness and fair-play has never been his forte.

This is an insult to the integrity and fair-mindedness of our present Tax Assessor, our community and our great nation.

If Jerry Lyles is elected, it will be a sad day for us all.


Anonymous said...

Atkins is the man for the job PERIOD.

Anonymous said...

As a lifelong resident of Natchez I
have had many positive experiences
in dealing with Mr Atkins. I love the fact that he is present and visible during the work day. He has
always been available to the public and he has always acted in a fair and impartial manner. Mr Atkins is on top of the property values in Natchez. Even when I did not like the tax assessment, I had to agree it was fair and reasonable. I admire how well Mr Atkins has maintained his office, his responsibilities, and his public exposure. Indeed, A man of