Officials talk annexation impact on property taxes

Published 5:00 am Monday, July 2, 2007

Sunday marks a significant day in the history of Brookhaven, onein which the city almost triples in size and welcomes more than3,000 new residents.

Being brought into the city will mean provision of city servicesto annexed residents but also city level property taxes that willkick in this year. With Brookhaven’s annexation finalized beforeJuly 1, city taxes in the new areas will take effect as if from thebeginning of the year.

Mayor Bob Massengill said the taxation from the beginning of theyear is a state law, and not one city officials decided onthemselves.

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“State law is that if an annexation takes place after July 1,there are no taxes that year, but if it takes place prior to theend of June the taxes are for the entire year,” he said. “That’snot a city decision, and somewhere down the line the Legislaturemay want to revisit it and pro-rate in that situation, but it is astate decision.”

For newly annexed residents, Lincoln County TaxAssessor-Collector Nancy Jordan said the easiest way to calculatethe new tax amounts is to calculate on the scale of a $100,000piece of property.

Jordan said that on a homesteadable property worth $100,000 inthe Brookhaven School District area, the current tax amount is$717.10. When that same property is annexed into the city, the taxamount goes up by another $329.50, bringing the total taxes on thehypothetical property to $1,046.70.

“For properties that are not homesteadable, commercial rental orvacant, now based on millage now until July 1, it’s $1,525.65,” shesaid. “But once it is inside city, it goes up to $2,020.50. It’s anincrease of $494.40 a year being inside the city versus being(only) in the Brookhaven separate school district.”

In the past, Jordan said, people in the annexation area havebeen paying Brookhaven School District taxes and county taxes.Those inside the city pay city taxes, city school taxes and countytaxes.

Everyone annexed was already living within the Brookhaven SchoolDistrict.

“If they were Brookhaven separate schools, they were based on101.71 mills,” said Jordan. “Inside the city is 134.67 mills, whichis an increase of 32.96 mills.”

The tax levy, expressed in mills, is multipled by the assessedvalue of one’s property to determine the amount of taxes owed.

Massengill said the additional taxes that come from the newareas of the city will help to make sure that all areas get thesame stellar treatment they expect and deserve.

“Obviously, we’re adding nine new policemen and six firemen,other people in other departments, as well as new equipment,” hesaid. “We’re committed to seeing that those in the former city aswe have known it for years don’t have any lack of service in anyway, shape or form, and we want to be able to provide the sameservices to the annexation area.”

Jordan said car tag prices for those in the new areas won’t beaffected until later on this summer.

“Car tags will not be affected until August. After that you willbuy it inside the city,” she said. “And that goes by the value ofthe car. Your tag is based on value set by Mississippi state taxcommission times the millage rate of where you live, and thatdetermines how much you pay for ad valorem taxes.”

Brookhaven’s annexation was approved April 5, much to thechagrin of the Citizens Against Annexation. They were able to putit off a few weeks longer by petitioning for a rehearing and askingthe state Supreme Court to issue a new opinion, saying the old onecontained language they felt was offensive and insulting.

The Supreme Court denied the rehearing. The court returned itsnew opinion in mid-June and the final mandate came down June 20.The 10-day waiting period for the mandate to take effect put theannexation in place just in time to qualify it for the July 1 taxdeadline.