Tag Archive for: Northeast Mississippi

New Albany’s wastewater treatment plant has been in the news for a couple of reasons lately.

First, the outmoded plant, about 70 years old, will soon be mostly replaced by a new plant north of the city.

The new plant will have updated equipment and larger capacity. It also will not be in the downtown area and adjacent to park and sportsplex areas like the present plant is.

Few people have been to the plant and many may not even know exactly where it is, reached by using Chickasaw Drive.

The present plant is large, about 40 acres, and could potentially represent a possible area for development or city use.

The second reason the facility is in the news concerns a connectivity plan to make the city more pedestrian-friendly and tie various tourism-related aspects of the city together.

Initially, planners suggested converting the wastewater plant area into an upscale RV park.

The problem with that is even after other parts of the facility are cleaned up to EPA specifications, one of the pools will have to be retained for emergency use. Also, a pumping station will be needed to pump waste to the new facility. The alternative would be to dig up and replace a huge amount of sewer pipe throughout the city.

This does not rule out having part of the property redeveloped but it is much too soon how practical that would be.

And even if the property cannot be redeveloped, officials say at least the odor problem should be mostly alleviated once the new plant goes into full operation next month.

The small size of the buildings in the distance gives an idea of how large the plant property is.

The Google photo shows how large the plant in the middle is and its proximity to the much smaller tennis complex below it.

Renovation and expansion of the Magnolia Civic Center stage, other than painting, should be ready this week

The civic center board voted to enlarge the stage and particularly extend the areas on the two edges to give more room for performances. At the same time the stage is being reinforced and efforts are being made to dampen sound. The reinforced stage will be adequate to hold a motorized lift unit acquired to afford better access to lighting and rigging over the stage. In the past, scaffolding or long ladders have had to be used.

The extension will require removing a couple of seats on the front two rows for fire safety and handicapped accessibility but the board is discussing reconfiguring the seating anyway. They are talking about creating a center aisle for easier accessibility to middle seats but this probably will not require the loss of any more seats because the two outside aisles are wide enough.

Another improvement is providing outside access to the storage area under the stage at ground level on the west side of the building. In the past, access was through an opening in the floor of the dressing area.

In connection with that, a rollup loading door will be installed offstage on the west side of the building to facilitate moving large set pieces and materials in and out of the building. Because the stage is on the second floor above ground level, some sort of lift will be needed at the loading door to end the practice of hoisting items up by brute force.

Building a ramp was discussed but a ramp to meet building codes would have to be about 80 feet long plus having landings and there is not sufficient room for that.

Work to improve the Tanglefoot Trail welcome center plaza is about complete except for landscaping in the two islands.

The large brick plaza will be a good location for outdoor library programs and private as well as public events. This is especially true in that the library meeting room is sometimes at capacity.

It will also benefit King Therapies next door across the trail because clients sometime engage in outdoor activities as well.

Some of the native plants have been retained and new steps make it easier for one to gain access to the plaza from the trail. The patio area extends to the library parking lot to the north.

The plaza was actually part of the original welcome center design when the building was slated to be north of its present location, where some trees are on the edge of the library parking area. It would have been in the area between the welcome center and the library.

The entire welcome center project was paid for with an MDOT grant plus money saved for the purpose from New Albany tourism tax revenues over several years.

No date was given as to when the improved plaza will be formally dedicated and placed into use.

New Albany is being called one of the best emerging tourism destinations in Mississippi. “We are being looked at and just need a hot spot to carry it home,” Community Development Director Billye Jean Stroud said.

Toward that end, the city has a new comprehensive plan and is working on river, park and retirement community plans as well.

Thursday, some residents got a preliminary look at a complementary plan designed to improve connectivity among the city’s key features, improving tourism and increasing private investment as well.

New Albany has been selected as part of the Mississippi Main Street Envision program with the project name Connect: New Albany.

With Mississippi Heritage Hills grant support, Bob Barber and the Orion Planning and Design group are preparing a plan that will basically “help people move around in New Albany.”

Barber said his group spent about 18 hours “to identify public facilities to catalyze possible spillover effects.”

Main Street Envision program will provide tourism connectivity plan ‘to help people move around’ better

Their primary focus is making downtown more pedestrian-friendly and better connecting the city’s most attractive areas for walkers and bikers.

Barber, whose group prepared the New Albany NEXT comprehensive plan, noted that the community already has done extensive planning but now it is time to move beyond that to what he referred to as New Albany NEXT Level.

One key premise Barber referred to is that historic downtown New Albany is “at capacity.”

In other words, the relatively small historic downtown area is out of space for growth.

They calculate that the downtown area has about 320,000 square feet of building space – about the equivalent of one and one-half Wal-Marts, he said. We have about 120,000 square feet in upper floors and 15 upper floor units.

“The downtown historic district is essentially at capacity. You need more,” he said.

Barber said there has been “tons of thought about mobility. Lots of discussion about the park area, some comments about Carter Avenue.”

The group, in an intensive process, selected three core emphases for the plan, he said.

One is the downtown area itself. Another is connectivity and the third what he referred to as “catalyst sites.”

They said they learned downtown has parking problems concerning capacity and design (parking spaces are marked at an awkward angle), lack of room for pedestrians, areas that are not American Disability Act accessible and other concerns.

This graphic shows the proposed walking and biking paths.

Recommendations include widening sidewalks to allow more room for walking, benches, trees, even outdoor cafes. They want to keep angle parking, but with an angle that makes it easier to see when backing out. Pinch points would keep traffic down to a slower, safer speed and more crosswalks and other pedestrian safety features would be added.

They want to connect peripheral parking areas to downtown, which includes closing the two alleys to through traffic and making them at least in part pedestrian walkways (they would have to remain partly open for business staff and people who live in upstairs apartments).

A part of previous plans has always been to extend walking and biking paths to key points in the city, and this is no exception with the connectivity core emphasis.

They want to have marked and protected lanes connecting the park area to downtown, but go further. Part of the path would go from the Tanglefoot Plaza trailhead up Railroad Avenue and turn up Cleveland Street to the museum. This might open up development across the railroad tracks as well.

Another part would include B. F. Ford School, based on efforts to preserve and renovate it as well as finding new uses.

The park and BNA Bank Park areas would be tied together better and a path through the sportsplex beside the highway would lead to the retail areas on Park Plaza Drive and, ultimately, the hotels on Hwy. 30 West.

Critical to the path system would be extensive use of wayfinding signage. They commented that people from out of town already have trouble finding features they are looking for here and multiple signs indicating direction, distance and other features are necessary.

Barber identified three catalyst sites: B. F. Ford School, the former Fred’s building and the present wastewater treatment facility that is about to be mostly phased out.

“The school has many possible uses,” he said. “Because you are at capacity, maybe the Fred’s building could be made into an interpretive center. There could be apartments upstairs.”

They recommended considering converting the wastewater plant area into an upscale RV park, but learned that part of the present facility will be kept operational for emergency use, so that option may be off the table.

Also mentioned in passing was a recommendation to expand the downtown historic district northward.

In questions, Stroud asked about the Fred’s building recommendation.

The group was against it becoming a municipal building on grounds that it is one of the first buildings people see when they enter downtown from the west and a bunch of police cars wouldn’t give the best impression. They also cited the city’s being at capacity and that the building could be better used for event space, upstairs apartments or the interpretive center (However, if the Fred’s building is converted for utility and police use, the police cars would be essentially hidden on the east side of the building toward the rear, only visible from directly in front of the area).

Barber had an extensive PowerPoint presentation but said it was quickly done and all the information they gathered plus their ideas need to be vetted before being compiled into a formal plan.

That plan will be given to Main Street Manager Billye Jean Stroud and Barber said it should be ready by the end of October.

The plan will include implementation of the recommendations, funding possibilities, development policy and risk mitigation.

A further factor will be potential changes in city zoning. In connection with preparation of the comprehensive plan, the city commissioned Barber and his group to update zoning ordinances to make them more comprehensive and user-friendly. Barber said those plans are ready.

“New Albany is really exciting,” Barber said. “It’s just a top-shelf city.”


Second-generation downtown business owner and community leader Roy Thomas “Tommy” Sappington, 66, died of an apparent heart attack Saturday afternoon.

Medical Examiner-Investigator Pam Boman confirmed that Sappington and his wife, Martha Carolyn, had just closed their store, T. Sappington and Co., about 5 p.m. Their vehicle had just pulled out of a parking space and stopped at the Tanglefoot Trail intersection on Bankhead Street when Sappington apparently collapsed and died.

Funeral arrangements will be announced later.

Expansion work on New Albany Fire Station 2 is proceeding after weather and shipping delays.

Fire Chief Mark Whiteside said earlier that they had been waiting on the steel components to arrive but a more immediate problem was that rain was preventing concrete work.

The steel has arrived and the concrete pad for the addition was poured Thursday.

Firefighters have been planning the addition more than a year.

The station was constructed in 1996 and Whiteside said the department has essentially outgrown it. Firefighters have to sleep two to two and one-half feet apart and some of the other facilities are lacking.

The plan was to build a 30 by 60 foot addition to provide a sleeping area, workout area, bathroom and laundry room. The laundry room will allow firefighters returning from a call to remove contaminated clothing without exposing it to other parts of the station.

One estimate for the work was $180,199 but city officials said they could save money by acting as their own contractors and also breaking the job up into smaller segments, although some still might need to be contracted elsewhere.

Fire protection funds can be used for the expansion, which Whiteside said contained no extra bells and whistles. Some of that could be added later but money was sufficient for the present addition.

New Albany aldermen voted to make Regan Russell Municipal Court Judge at their August meeting Tuesday. Russell has been serving on an interim basis during the illness of Steve Livingston, who died earlier this year.

There was a question as to whether Russell could serve as judge and city board attorney at the same time but he said he checked and there is no conflict.

He did add, however, that he would only be comfortable serving on a limited time basis and that the issue should be revisited no later than at the end of the current term of office.

Aldermen chose attorney Matt Harris as Municipal Judge Pro Tem, which will help reduce the number of calls a judge receives after hours and on weekends.

LED streetlights

In another matter that had been in need of finalizing, the last resolution was passed to allow the plan to replace all city street lights to move forward. There had been some concern on the part of the funding agent about the wording of the agreement and attorney Russell said that was resolved by making one small change.

It is hoped that the new equipment can be received in a month or so and installation will take only several weeks.

Vice-Mayor Will Tucker presents certificate of appreciation to Miss New Albany Hospitality

Miss New Albany Hospitality

Ward Four Alderman and Vice-Mayor Will Tucker, acting in the absence of Mayor Tim Kent, presented a certificate of appreciation to Becca Childers, Miss New Albany Hospitality. Childers recently represented the city in the state pageant at Hattiesburg and was chosen as first alternate to the winner.

Tucker said “We are really grateful at how well she represented New Albany and we’re blessed to have her in the City of New Albany.”

“I thank you for all this,” she said. “I had no idea what this pageant was. It was a great scholarship opportunity not only for myself but for all the girls…A lot of the judges spoke very highly of us (in New Albany).”

The meeting began with a public hearing on a zoning matter.

Public hearing

Businessman Mike Bailey was requesting that property at the corner of Moss Hill Drive and Sam T. Barkley Drive be changed form R-2 residential to C-2 commercial zoning.

Bailey’s manager, Meg Crockett, told aldermen that part of the property was already C-2 and they simply wanted to have all of it commercial, in line with the industrial bypass road.

There was no objection so the change was passed. Officials said a storage facility would be constructed there.

Departmental business

In department business, light, gas and water manager Bill Mattox told aldermen that converting to the new wastewater treatment plant is a process that has really started already and will continue through September.

He received approval to pay the construction company for the project $126,865.13.

In other pay requests, the utility will pay Looks Great Services $91,875 and $130,744 for right-of-way clearing. Mattox got approval to add other circuits for clearing, but will look into the feasibility of purchasing needed equipment so the city can do the clearing itself.

Aldermen approved the low bid of $99,434 each for 15Kv vacuum circuit breakers to go at Blue Springs and New Haven substations but rejected bids to move a gas line for a bridge replacement on Hwy. 178 West. Mattox explained that there was an error in the original bid and the Mississippi Department of Transportation, which is paying for all expenses, wanted to rebid, which will happen.

Finally, aldermen awarded a $634,000 contract to KAJACS Construction to improve the Carter Avenue sewage lift station. This is the same company building the new wastewater plant. The Carter Avenue station is one of the oldest and Mattox said it handles the largest capacity, pumping across the Tallahatchie River to the present plant. Even though the new plant is north of the city, the Carter Avenue plant will continue in use, connecting to the new pumping station that will move sewage to the new plant.

Community development

New Albany Community Development Director Billye Jean Stroud challenged aldermen to take positive action toward implementing the city’s new comprehensive plan Tuesday by creating a position specifically for the purpose.

More about that appeared in an earlier story Thursday but Stroud also addressed another issue.

“I would like to point out that I am losing a much-valued staff person. I have handed the resignation of Emily Draffen and her job description to Frankie,” she said.

Draffen has served as civic center manager and helped bring many improvements and new programs to the facility and community despite the pandemic.

“Her last day will be the end of August and she has been spectacular,” Stroud said. “It will be a hard person to replace.”

Mayor Tim Kent is advertising the vacancy and Stroud said they would be making recommendations to the board.

Union County Heritage Museum

Union County Heritage Museum Director Jill Smith gave an update on activities including seeking a Mississippi Development Authority grant and expanding the museum’s Pioneer Days program.

The museum is continuing its efforts to collect the oral history of B. F. Ford School and the success of the Museum Kids program. One upcoming event will be by the New Albany Garden Club and continuing programs include the Lifelong Learning classes for adults and the Beyond the Tracks music series.

She added that entries have come in for the William Faulkner writing competition from at least 10 countries and 25 United States. Awards will be announced and presented at the luncheon at the end of September.

Other departments

Chase Jeter presented a list of past and future activities at BNA Bank Park, saying things are looking good. Specifically mentioned were the soccer program and Cotton Leagues for both college and high school ages.

Building Inspector and Zoning Administrator Eric Thomas reported on action taken by the planning and zoning board.

Approved were a setback variance at 204 Apple Street, rezoning 103 South Central from C-2 commercial to R-2 residential (the house once served as a law office) and a siding and parking lot variance for 921 Sam T. Barkley Drive at Camp Creek Native Plants.

A public hearing was set for the next board meeting concerning the rezoning of 103 South Central.

Also, the board granted emergency relief to the resident at 400 Pineridge Drive. Thomas explained the residence had sustained fire damage on June 22. The resident is asking to have a recreational vehicle placed there by the insurance company while the home is repaired. Thomas said the closest place for the resident to stay otherwise would be at least 40 miles away and Covid concerns were cited as well.

Repairs are expected to take four to six months but the most nearly relevant city ordinance limits having an RV in such circumstances to 15 days.

Because there is nothing in city ordinances to allow this aldermen eventually voted to allow it but revisit the situation at the November board meeting. Because the insurance company is paying for all this, they likely will expedite the process, Thomas said.

General business

In general business, Ward Three Alderman Kevin Dale White brought up the issue of public shelters, which has been discussed some at previous meetings. “I know we really need to look into this,” he said. He said he has talked with building inspector Thomas and they tentatively discussed having at least one shelter, capable of holding 150 persons, in each of the four wards.

Businessman and developer Terry Young commented that he would donate land for one, possibly on the north side.

The problem concerning public shelters has been and remains funding. Officials will look harder for grants or other possible funding but most federal money has only come to a community after it had sufferented extensive storm damage.

The board approved the public notice that the public hearing on the 2021-2022 city budget will be Sept. 7, at the monthly board meeting.

Ward One Alderman Parks Smith got permission to have a stop sign placed on South Central Avenue at the Apple Street intersection. He said the request had come from area residents and was partly for traffic control as well as safety for pedestrians and children walking to or from school particularly.

Stop signs are already on South Central at the intersections north and south of Apple. A problem is that parents waiting to pick up children after school simply stop in the street on Apple and the line usually backs up on Central causing motorists to take chances driving around them.

Aldermen approved raising the limit on the city’s BNA Bank credit card beyond the present $5,000 total.

Municipal Clerk Frankie Roberts said this was because when all city officials were trying to check in for the Mississippi Municipal League convention the total topped the limit forcing some to have to pay themselves and be reimbursed later. She said this is likely the only situation that presents such a problem and when purchases get high enough bidding procedures have to be followed anyway.

Finally, aldermen approved paying Hills Construction $101,349, paying Elliott and Britt Engineering $66,003 and paying an additional $167,352 for work being done on the Fusion Furniture plant. This is actually a county project and the city is administering it due to a technicality. No city money is involved in the project.

The next scheduled meeting of the board of aldermen will be Tuesday, Sept. 7, at 5:30 p.m.

New Albany police have arrested a person they consider one of the area’s more prolific drug dealers and charged him with trafficking in methamphetamine.

Officers formally charged Jeremy Perkins, 41, this past Monday, although the offense occurred several weeks ago.

Narcotics investigator Kevin Johnson said officers were involved in unrelated surveillance at the Hallmarc Inn. “We happened up on him,” Johnson said, “and watched him do a deal or two.”

When Perkins left, the officers performed a traffic stop on the suspect and he gave consent to search the room.

Officers found 70 grams of methamphetamine there. Having more than 30 grams brings the more serious trafficking charge as opposed to sale or possession.

His bond was set at $50,000.

Johnson said more charges are pending because Perkins also had 70 grams of methamphetamine in his possession when he was stopped. He had a handgun as well, which means another charge because he is a convicted felon.

The New Albany school board of trustees heard presentations from two architectural firms this past week.

Although one of the board members said they have no specific plans, prior to the Covid pandemic three years ago they were considering a major renovation and expansion of the high school building on Hwy. 15 North.

That master plan would include a multi-story high school at the north end of the building, replacing the old career and technical center. There would be a new gym, renovation of the auditorium, moving the career and technical school to part of the present school and perhaps adding a ninth grade academy.

The two firms were Pryor Morrow Architects and JBHM Architects. Both have offices in Tupelo and include architects who have done local school work in the past.

Representatives presented credentials, examples of work and philosophies of how they work with schools.

Superintendent Dr. Lance Evans indicated a decision on choosing a firm would likely be made in the next few weeks or months.

Director of Accounting Services Suzanne Coffey told trustees that the district continues to function well within the budgeted revenue and expenditures. The district ended the year with a fund balance of $185,000. Even with other payments the fund should remain well above $150,000, which has been the goal for several years. That amount is roughly what it would take to operate the school district for a month.

Among action items, the trustees approved a series of agreements providing specific services to the schools and students. They also approved a contract that supports internships and the school’s IMPACTO program.

In personnel, board members approved:

  • The resignation of Allen Ball, teacher and assistant basketball coach, New Albany High School.
  • The resignation of Allen Ball, head boys basketball and assistant football coach, New Albany Middle School.
  • The resignation of Danica Buchanan, teacher assistant, New Albany Elementary School.
  • The resignation of Mary Beth Muncie, head cheer coach, New Albany High School.
  • The resignation of Dennis Siddell, bus driver, centeral office.
  • Naming Tammy Almand bus driver, central office.
  • Naming Larry Drummond bus driver one-half route, central office.
  • Naming Pam Cobb teacher assistant, New Albany Elementary School.
  • Naming Dana Buchanan teacher, New Albany Middle School.
  • Naming Bert Anderson assistant boys and girls track coach, New Albany Middle School.
  • Naming Easton Hall assistant football coach, New Albany Middle School.
  • Naming Jake McDonald assistant baseball coach, New Albany Middle School.
  • Naming Timotheus Strong part-time to full-time custodian, New Albany Middle School.
  • Naming Melanie Anderson head cheer coach, New Albany High School.
  • Naming Mary Beth Muncie, choreographer and coordinator, New Albany High School cheerleaders.
  • Naming Eston Hall teacher, New Albany High School.
  • Naming Danica Buchanan assistant volleyball coach, New Albany High School.

Trustees approved two monetary donations to New Albany Elementary School. Luther Johnson gave $1,000 designated for school supplies and the New Albany Elementary School PTO give $13,528.25 with no designation.

Before adjourning, the board went into executive session to discuss a personnel matter. No action was reported.

The next scheduled board meeting will be Thursday, Sept. 2, at 5:30 in the high school media center. The Thursday date is because of the Monday, Sept. 6, Labor Day holiday.

A rendering of a proposed new high school complex done by A2H Architects several years ago.

New Albany Community Development Director Billye Jean Stroud challenged aldermen to take positive action toward implementing the city’s new comprehensive plan Tuesday. She asked that they create a position specifically for the purpose.

The city has commissioned a couple of comprehensive plans over the past quarter century but never made a concerted effort to implement them.

Parts of the earlier plan have done but there has not been anyone designated to tackle the project as a whole. Possibly that was because the plan was so comprehensive that it was difficult to know where to start.

The idea of having a city planner has come up for discussion from time to time with mixed support and opposition, perhaps because the scope of the job may not have been clear.

Stroud decided to call for action at Tuesday’s August meeting of New Albany aldermen.

“After much thought and research and consideration I wanted to let you know that during the next few months I would be making several recommendations for a focus group task force to review and strategize for the implementation of our comprehensive plan that our city has invested in,” she said.

While some parts of the earlier 1996 plan have been implemented over the years, the city has not designated anyone specifically for that task. That remains true for the new plan recently adopted.

“The most pressing at the moment is the community development planning division,” she said. “I don’t have the training or experience to implement the recently adopted city plan, nor do I have the skill set.”

“In the next few days I am going to submit a proposal and a budget to create a new position for this department along with a job description and I am asking that after you review this proposal you will fund this most-needed position,” she said.

“In addition, I will be looking at ways to tackle the ever-present maintenance issues of our tourism attractions as well as planning for the aging population of this community when we become a retirement community,” she said.

Stroud reminded everyone that the legislation that created New Albany’s two-percent tourism tax is also designated for “both tourism and economic development and to encourage retirees to remain in or relocate to the New Albany area.” That aspect of the tax has rarely been mentioned since its inception.

“I personally see no reason why this request cannot be funded since we are growing, our city and our community is becoming a tourism destination,” she said. “We need a plan for future growth that has been predicted by several people and we are actually seeing with our own eyes.”

Stroud said the position is still in the development stage but the person would have functions as city planner as well as possibly taking on some related tasks other city departments have had to deal with, even though they were not within their stated job descriptions.

“Two years of my sweat equity and planning have gone into this plan with countless conference calls, hours of community meetings and I will do whatever I can to make sure this plan is implemented,” she said. “All I can do to you is to suggest what needs to be done.”

“The rest falls on you,” she told the five aldermen.


Organizers have decided to postpone the New Albany Community Theater presentation of Hee Haw set for Aug. 13 and 14.

“After much discussion among the organizers, taking into account the current rise in local Covid-19 cases, we have decided to postpone this event,” civic center manager Emily Draffen said. “We are sorry for the inconvenience and encourage everyone who’s already purchased tickets to visit the Main Street office for a full refund. We will look to reschedule this event at another time.”

Hee Haw has been presented locally from time to time since 2008 using familiar faces in sketches, telling jokes and providing music. The event has often served as a fundraiser and plans were for part of this performance’s proceeds going to the American Cancer Society Relay for Life.

The Main Street office is in the former post office at 135 East Bankhead Street.


The last Monday in August is a day real estate investors and speculators look forward to each year.

That’s when Union County holds its annual delinquent tax land sale.

If a parcel of property had not had tax paid by the February deadline, or later paid plus penalty interest, the county will auction that property off to recover the lost tax revenue.

It can be a way for a third party to purchase land at a low price, but the process is not as simple as it might seem. For one thing, the land is not really yours for three years and the owner still has a last opportunity to recover it.

For many years a traditional sort of round-robin in-person auction was used but not everybody had the opportunity to bid on any parcel. It was hit and miss as to which parcel each person might bid on.

Four years ago the tax assessor-collector switched to an on-line auction that is fair to everyone.

Everyone can bid on every parcel. Bids can be placed remotely and conditional bids, with increases and limits, can be programmed as well.

While this process is more democratic, it also gives an advantage to large companies that essentially place bids on every parcel, assuming they will win at least some.

This may shut out some local buyers but it also brings more revenue into the county, Tax Assessor-Collector Tameri Dunnam said.

That auction will begin on Monday, Aug. 30, at 8:30 a.m. CST and will continue each subsequent day until all parcels have been offered for sale. The sale has taken about a day and a half in the past.

The auction will again be hosted at http://auctions.govease.com.

Although the auction will be on-line, bidders still must arrange for payment and verify registration with the tax assessor’s office ahead of time. Dunnam said her office will need a blank check, letter of credit and W-9 tax form from each bidder.

Online registration can be done now, only takes a few minutes, and registering does not mean anyone is obligated to bid.

“Everyone needs to check with me to make sure all the paperwork is done,” she said.

Because not everyone in the county has good internet access, in the past the tax office had a limited number of computers available for use in the courthouse and free wifi is available for public use at the Union County Library.

Dunnam encourages anyone with questions to call the GovEase support line at 769-208-5050, or call her office at 662-534-1973 concerning the sale itself. She also highly recommends viewing the tutorials on the website.

Although one may purchase land for a small delinquent tax amount, as noted there is a catch.

First, Dunnam said that landowners will still have an opportunity to redeem their property at the last minute before the sale, but it needs to be done soon. They would have to pay the five percent interest penalty as well as a $1.50 printer fee per parcel.

Also, a property owner has two more years in which to redeem the property by paying the tax that was owed plus related costs plus seven percent damages plus one and one-half percent interest per month on what is owed. And even then the purchaser may still sell the land back to the original owner for a profit.

So, at worst, someone buying property at the sale would still make some profit even if he or she did not keep the land. While some are actually interested in obtaining specific pieces of property, many people buy parcels on the assumption that the original owner will eventually redeem the property and provide the sale purchaser with a much higher interest return than he or she could get at a bank.

Each year the public listing of delinquent taxes may take up 10 large pages in small print but being listed doesn’t mean that much on its own.

If you see someone’s property listed with X amount of tax due, you can’t just walk into the tax assessor’s office, plunk down the money and purchase that property.

Also, seeing a name listed does not mean one should draw any negative conclusions. True, some people may not have the money at the time to pay the tax because of any number of reasons, but others purposely delay payment for some financial advantage, preferring to pay a penalty later to free up cash now.

Initial tax notices go out about the first of December each year with a second notice the first of January. Unpaid taxes become delinquent Feb. 1 so property owners have almost six months to pay.

The county is required to try to get in touch with the property owner in several ways so he or she has more than adequate notice of the impending publication and sale.

The sale itself is always on the last Monday in August.

The tax assessor-collector’s office is responsible for dealing with delinquent taxes right up to the moment of sale. After that, any efforts toward redemption have to go through the chancery clerk’s office.