Lincoln County citizen asks supervisors for help with tax issues

Published 3:11 pm Monday, March 20, 2023

On Monday, the Lincoln County Board of Supervisors heard from citizen Johnny Joe Gunnell, who said he owns property in several counties where he has no problems with taxes, yet the taxes with Lincoln County “never seem to be fixed.”

“I’ve been working on these taxes on two locations for a time now,” he said of his attempt to work with Tax Assessor Blake Pickering on straightening out the deeds attached to the properties. “I sold some land to a lady and she came to the courthouse to find out I didn’t even own the land, according to the Lincoln County tax office.

“I don’t know what else to do but to come before the Lincoln County Board of Supervisors to get someone to help me. I have property in Lawrence County and in Pike County — I tell you that Pike County tax guy knows what he’s doing and I don’t have any problems there.”

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Pickering told supervisors that the deeds in question “have been a mess for probably 40 years,” and his office has been trying to get the deeds properly recorded.

When County Attorney Greg Malta told Gunnell that he might have to hire someone to do a title search, Pickering said that is sort of what his office is already doing.

“Lots of others have told me they are having trouble with taxes in Lincoln County, too,” Gunnell responded.

“So what do we need to do for Mr. Gunnell to get this straight?” District 5’s Doug Falvey said to Pickering. “Does he have to keep going to other offices to get this fixed?”

District 4’s Eddie Brown joined in with his own concerns by asking Pickering, “What are we going to do to help him out?”

Pickering answered that his office has been working to get many deeds that “don’t line up” fixed, and will continue to do so.

Malta suggested again that Gunnell may need to do a title search to track the route his deeds took throughout the properties’ lives. Otherwise, he said, there was little the supervisors could do.


Other business

With the 2023 Fiscal Year 41.66 percent — five months — complete, Lincoln County has received 38.2 of its budgeted receipts, County Administration Daniel Calcote said.

“This is slightly behind where we normally are at this point in the year,” he said. “The February revenues were lower than usual, but the March revenues are already looking to be higher than normal, so this is just a difference in timing.”

According to Calcote, the county’s total expenditures are 30.4 percent of their budgeted amounts through February as listed below:

  • Board of Supervisors — 55.6 percent of annual budgeted expenditures, which are high due to liability insurance premium payment and annual appropriations sent out in October.
  • District 1 Road Fund — 82.4 percent of annual budgeted expenditures due to engineering fees and road construction costs paid on 2021-2022 paving projects.
  • District 5 Road Fund — 57.7 percent of annual budgeted expenditures due to large payment to D&B in November for the 2021-2022 paving projects.

In other business, County Engineer Ryan Holmes updated the board on road projects coming up and the board approved Week 23 meal count sheets, inventory sheets for a 2021 vehicle and a gas stove, an insurance renewal and a delinquent tax report for February.

The board also approved a bid from Trustmark for District 1’s financing of a tractor. The bid was for $86,942.12 at a 4.53 interest rate for 36 months.