Mississippi officials looking at taxes on Nissan plant

Friday, November 29, 2013, Vol. 37, No. 48

CANTON, Miss. (AP) — The president of the Madison County Board of Supervisors said officials will negotiate with Nissan over property taxes in early 2014.

An initial 10-year tax exemption expires at the end of the year.

Board of Supervisors President Gerald Steen said Nissan's taxation is very complex and not a simple "this or that."

"At this point I would like to hear Nissan's side as well and also for us to look and see where we are as a county," Steen told the Madison County Journal (http://bit.ly/17XSlcK).

"Nissan is the largest employer in Madison County. It's a lot of money. The right thing to do is sit down and listen to them and look and see what our needs are with the county. There's a compromise there somewhere and I'm very much open to listen to that compromise."

Tax Assessor Gerald Barber wants to assess Nissan's manufacturing operation at its true value. Barber said the taxes would bring in $7 million to $9 million a year.

The board of supervisors sets tax rates and the assessor determines the true value of property.

Steen said for the last year the board has discussed the expiration of Nissan's 10-year payment in lieu of taxes agreement that brought in $3.6 million in taxes last year. Of that, over $2 million went to Canton Public Schools.

"Supervisors will negotiate whatever negotiations come about with Nissan. If it's at full value, that's what it will be. This is not a decision that will be made overnight," Steen said.

Barber said there is no question as to whether or not Nissan will be taxed at full value, but instead on what that value will be.

"I think the numbers will be somewhere between $7 to 9 million," he said. "There is no question as to if they will be taxed at full value. The question is 'what is the real value on real and personal property on Jan. 1, 2014?'

"We will not lose money, but finally get some net tax dollars. This is a day all of us in the budget process have waited to experience. It will be a very good thing," Barber said.

Barber said he wants to have something done months ahead presenting the proposal tax roll to supervisors next July.

"The best solution would be for Nissan and our office to agree on values as early as possible so the county and Canton Public Schools can move forward with their budgets," he said.

The manufacturing plant opened in 2003 and is about 15 miles north of Jackson, facing Interstate 55. A new supplier park, which is scheduled to open in phases in 2014 and 2015, will not be visible from the interstate.