Greenville, Miss. (Delta Democrat Times) – Mississippi’s Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann came to town Tuesday, bringing with him a hefty check benefiting both the city and the county.
Thanks to the sale of 259 tax-forfeited properties from last July’s online auction, Hosemann on Tuesday was able to bestow $95,000 to the City of Greenville and Washington County.
Greenville Mayor Errick D. Simmons and Washington County Board of Supervisors President Carl McGee graciously accepted the funds on behalf of the city and county, respectively.
Simmons said proceeds from the sale of the properties will help the city and county continue moving forward.
“Our revitalization story, part of that and key to that, is returning dormant property back to their productive use and we have done that through the partnership with our Secretary Delbert Hosemann,” he said during a press conference inside the City Hall Chambers.
Simmons said the benefits from the sale of tax-forfeited properties are two-fold: They help beautify the community but also return properties to the tax rolls.
Money from the Secretary of State’s Office will go to the five incorporated areas in Washington County, including Greenville, Leland, Metcalfe, Hollandale and Arcola, as well as the Greenville Public School District and Washington County government offices, including the Chancery Clerk, Board of Supervisors and Sheriff’s Office.
McGee said he was able to chat with Hosemann earlier this year at a meeting in Jackson. There, Hosemann express his excitement about the funds that would be coming into the county through the auction. But, McGee said Tuesday, Hosemann’s enthusiasm for the Delta goes beyond that check.
“It’s not just excitement about the money. It’s being excited about the passion that you have for the Delta, community and the citizens we represent,” he said. “We appreciate your efforts and doing what you can to raise those funds.”
While Hosemann said he is happy to help, it’s really the community members who are to thank. Through these auctions, they have shown they are willing to invest in these properties and get them back on the tax rolls.
“I think this is a really good indication of where the City of Greenville is going. People are willing to go in, start paying taxes and take care of this property; and we still have hundreds of these available and we are ready and open for business,” he said.
Hosemann said the efforts to begin returning tax-forfeited properties to the tax rolls began with former Greenville Mayor Chuck Jordan and continued with his successors, John Cox and now, Simmons.
“In the past three years, we have brought the city and county $220,000. It’s a good amount of money and it’s a good start. We have sold over 400 of these parcels now in the last three years,” he said.
Even with 400 properties sold, there are more than 800 parcels still available for purchase online at the secretary’s website, sos.ms.gov/Public-Lands/Pages/Tax-Forfeited-Lands.aspx.
Hosemann said they will continue to sell the thousands of state owned properties until there aren’t any more left to sell.
“All of that is available today. I am a willing seller. The legislature has given me the authority to make you a deal and I will make you a deal if you will call me or send me a note,” he said.
Under the authority given to the Secretary of State’s Office by the state Legislature, properties owned by the state may be given to the city if they are for a public purpose, Hosemann said.
Washington County Tax Assessor Mark Seard, who helped assist residents by fielding questions about the buying process and filling out online applications, on Tuesday asked Hosemann when the next auction will be. The answer: soon, Hosemann said.
“We want to come back again in the fall and try to do this every six months or so and see if we can identify another 200 or 300 of these,” he said.
For more information about purchasing available properties, contact the Public Land Division at 601-359-5156.