Board to hear reappraisal complaints next week

Published 5:00 am Monday, August 6, 2001

While a Madison County Circuit Court ruling issued Thursday mayaffect investigations into the hiring of Herring Appraisers andComputer Services, it won’t put a stop to Lincoln County landownersobjecting to the new property values.

The Lincoln County Board of Supervisors still plans to addressmore than 200 objections to a recent countywide reappraisalbeginning Monday.

“We’re setting up appointments for each individual who has filedan objection,” Chancery Clerk Tillmon Bishop said. “The reasonwe’re doing that is strictly for the convenience of thetaxpayer.”

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Since it followed similar guidelines in choosing Herring for itsappraisal work, Lincoln County was among several counties acrossthe state awaiting the Madison County judge’s ruling.

Judge Samac Richardson determined that state law allows theboard of supervisors to contract without bidding the project out,even though Herring is not a certified appraiser, according to aJackson newspaper.

An investigation into the bidding process was being conducted bythe state attorney general’s office, state auditor’s office,Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and the Internal RevenueService (IRS). FBI officials questioned some Lincoln Countyofficials regarding the selection process.

When new property value notices were sent out last month to over11,000 landowners whose land value had increased $1,000 or more,the tax assessor’s office was bombarded with complaints andquestions.

Lincoln County Tax Assessor-Collector Nancy Jordan urgedresidents to review the new land values during July and fileobjections.

Jordan was not available for comment on the Madison Countyruling.

The board of supervisors will meet with complainants on anindividual basis next week to give each person a fair amount oftime to express their concerns.

“The chancery clerk’s responsibility is to ensure that the taxpayer gets the opportunity to visit with the board of supervisors,”Bishop said, “and we wanted to do it this way, so they wouldn’thave to encounter a long wait.

“Of course anyone can come at any time — it’s an open meeting– but we’re encouraging people to come only at their appointedtime,” he added. “This is for their convenience.”

By coming only at the appointed time, he said, residents canavoid long waits and help decrease any confusion.

Employees in the chancery clerk’s office have been callingcomplainants this week to set up meeting times.

Rather than people having to wait for an appointment, Bishop hasscheduled three complainants to meet with the board every 20minutes.

“This is one big, long board meeting that starts at 8:30 a.m.Monday and continues to Friday,” he commented.

More than 170 appointments had been set by Friday morning,Bishop said.

“The rest just want their letter to stand for itself,” hesaid.

Bishop hopes the appointments will clear up any questions orconcerns. Landowners who object to the new property values, cancall Deputy Clerk Alicia McGehee at the chancery clerk’s office at835-3413 by 5 p.m. today to make an appointment with the board.

Editor’s Note: News Editor Matthew Coleman and staff writerScott Tynes contributed to this story.