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Video: Tornado Affected Towns Reevaluate Property Values

NORTHEAST Miss. (WCBI)- Weeks after tornado clean up and rebuilding begins, assessing taxes for damaged properties becomes the next major hurdle. What property owners are charged in taxes is reduced based on the level of damage. Property insurance, state and federal tax dollars may pay to help rebuild, but local governments don’t get back the lost tax dollars.

“It was 81 properties in Lowndes County and Columbus that were hit and identified that we will look at their taxes for 2014,” said Andrews.

Tax Assessors must reevaluate structures in tornado ravaged areas. Lowndes County’s tax assessor says while their numbers are small, he knows all too well the burden and toll it can have on a city.

“2 or 3 years ago it affected our budgets greatly because it was a bigger storm area and with more damage. A town like Louisville that has a smaller budget than we do, when its devastated like that and buildings are totally gone, it might take 2 to 3 years to build it back. It could be devastating for their budgets,” said Andrews.

Andrews says for one year they lost property tax revenues in Lowndes County and in Columbus, particularly on the city’s southside. But, it wasn’t all bad news.

“Some of the houses were valued at $50,000. When they were built back they were built $50,000 to $60,000. So, we gained that money once they were built back. Some areas were better than they were before the storm,” said Andrews.

In Itawamba County, the Board of Supervisors recently reevaluated around 200 structures after the April 28th tornado. But the biggest impact will be in Lee and Winston counties where there are hundreds of properties involved.