Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Winston Plywood Tax Status Yet to Be Finalized

Delays in paper work and legal requirements for the settling of the tax status of the Winston Plywood facility in Louisville could create some issues for Winston County in the completion of the tax roll by the required date of July 5. The company has filed for a ten-year tax-exempt status on the facility, equipment and inventory. This type of exemption is typical for new industry and the added economic boost they often bring to a community. The exemption would only apply to the county and city. The school district, LMSD, would receive its full tax dollars under this status.  The amount is yet to be determined due to unknown appraised value.

However, the company has recently filed and completed paperwork to qualify for a “Fee in Lieu of Taxes" status which is determined by the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA). To qualify for Fee in Lieu, there must be $100 million of private investment. Under this arrangement, tax dollars paid to the school district could be reduced by as much as two thirds but the county and city would share in the funds. In effect, the company would reduce their tax burden but Winston County and the City of Louisville would receive significant revenue that they could not obtain under a tax-exempt status.
In discussions with school officials and Tax Assessor Darlene Bane, the overall effect would be a tax dollar win for Louisville and Winston County but a significant loss for LMSD.

The paperwork has been filed in a timely manner for Winston Plywood to qualify for Fee in Lieu and is currently in the hands of the MDA. Conversations between the County and MDA indicate that it may be several weeks before the application is approved and a final Fee in Lieu is established to be dispersed among the City, County and LMSD. This delay in approval may result in the County’ s tax roll not completed by the July 5th deadline.

Tax Assessor Darlene Bane informed the Supervisors of the situation on Tuesday and is working with County Attorney Hugh Hathorn on resolutions and options. At worst, the delay could push back some budgeting decisions and the delay of receipt of tax revenues this Fall.