Thursday, December 18, 2008

Madison County Citizens Service Agency

Madison County Citizens Service Agency
Dr. Mary Sims Johnson
Office No.601-855-5728
140 W. Center St. on the square in Canton


January 28, 2010
Johnson spreads word on agency

By Lucy Weber

The Madison County Citizens Services Agency could be one of the best kept secrets around, but executive director Mary Sims Johnson wants to change that.
"We're here to serve, and we want the citizens to know it," Johnson said. "There are a number of residents who could benefit from our services but they don't know we're here. Everybody in Madison County has an opportunity to receive our services."
The three-year-old agency, the social service arm of the Board of Supervisors and which has the goal of eradicating poverty in Madison County, assists local residents living below the poverty line with programs for energy assistance, transportation, meals, information and referral, outreach and an ombudsman to assist the elderly in long-term care. The agency, located at 140 W. Center St. on the square in Canton, receives federal and state grants, in addition to local matching funds.
"This is a Madison County agency. We want to meet the needs of those across the county," said Timmy Pickett, chairman of the agency's board of directors.
Johnson, who has been on the job since last March, said the number of clients continues to grow but she wants to make sure that everyone who could benefit from the agency's services will benefit.
"It's very rewarding work. You know you're making a difference in the community," she said.
in December, the agency helped 434 clients with its Low Income Energy Assistance Program, an increase of 59 percent compared to last year. For those whose income is 150 percent below the national poverty level, the program makes sure their utilities are not shut off.
"Our goal is to provide wraparound services, a system of care. We're the first point of referral. If we don't provide the service, we will link them to the agency that can help," Johnson said. "The need is great, and that's why we're here."
The Citizens Services Agency is planning an outreach program through local churches in February. Johnson said the agency will mail out about 200 to 400 letters to churches in the county to spread the word about the services offered and the help available to the disadvantaged, elderly and handicapped.
"We just want people to be served," she said.
Pickett said the agency staff does a good job in linking those in need with the services that can help them. Madison County residents need to aware of the agency and the services that are available to help, he said.
"Helping people less fortunate, that's what the agency is about," Pickett said.
Johnson, who came to the agency with 26 years experience with Catholic Charities, said the staff members do "a superb job in really serving the clients."
The agency runs congregate meals programs, funded by the Central Mississippi Planning and Development District, in Canton and Camden on weekdays. Besides a hot meal, the program for the elderly also provides social enrichment. There are 24 slots for the meals program in Camden and 26 in Canton with a waiting list for both, Johnson said.
The agency runs two public transportation services, which average about 15-20 riders per day. Anyone can utilize one of the services that runs from Canton to Jackson every week day, and the other is only for the elderly to take them to the doctor, store or other places they need to go.
"These support our mission to eradicate poverty" since the public bus system is used by many riders to get to jobs in Jackson, Johnson said. "We want to continue to build out our transportation."
Through its outreach program, the agency goes to the homes of residents who are physically challenged to evaluate their needs and then through the information and referral program the agency links them to what organizations can meet those needs, Johnson said.
The ombudsman program provides advocacy for those Madison County residents in long-term care who can't advocate for themselves, Johnson said.
"It's hard for our clients to say 'I need help.' We let them know they're important to us and we empower them in any way we can," she said.
12/18/2008 5:04:00 AM
Agency directors resign after change

Associate Editor

Four members of the Madison County Citizens Service Agency's board of directors have resigned amid questions about a recent change in the board's makeup.

The agency provides goods and services to underprivileged residents in Madison County.

Click here for entire article.

Click here for Clarion Ledger article and to leave comments:
Madison Co. supervisor, agency head clash at meeting

Background paper with detailed information.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

UPDATE: AGO says NO Galleria Parkway - Ashton Park Wall at taxpayer expense

Do you have a comment?

Nov 4, 2008: Attorney General comes to the aid of Madison County Tax Payers saying the County cannot build Ashton Park Wall.


I STRONGLY AGREE that the Ashton Park landscaped area/wall should be built immediately and paid for by the PID Board/developers. It is a travesty, and insult, to the residents of Ashton Park that it hasn't already been constructed!

Before construction of Galleria Parkway was started the PID Board and developers were supposed to have coordinated a plan for a landscaped 50' buffer area between the proposed parkway and Ashton Park. This area should have been developed as planned and agreed to as the parkway construction began.

Instead, the developers sold some of the right-of-way to install a Nissan water line, and the proceeds didn't go to the development of the promised landscaped area.

Now the taxpayers of Madison County are being fleeced with another un-programmed and un-budgeted, and possibly illegal/improper, expense that is estimated to run at least $400,000! Instead, this expense should be paid for by the Parkway Public Improvement (PID) Board.

This entire project should be carefully reviewed by the State Attorney General, the State Auditor and the State Ethics Commission.

Click here to see more in depth discussion of recommendation and White Paper.

WMGO 1370AM CANTON, MS - Jerry Lousteau Morning News , Wednesday, April 16, 2008

WMGO 1370 Canton, MS

Madison County Journal Editorial - Ashton Park Wall Excessive; April 17, 2008

Madison County Journal - Letter to the Editor - Use taxpayers' money wisely, reader says; April 17, 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Make Madison County Roads Safer...

I get tons of complaints about speeding on County roads and neighborhood streets. However, Sheriff Toby Trobridge and his deputies have to fight the battle to keep us safe without the use of radar. We are a highly urbanized county with neighborhoods that are exactly like those in the cities where the police have the tools to keep the citizens safe.
Help prevent future potential "thrill hill" accidents... If you would like to involve your neighborhood in a campaign to obtain this capability for our Sheriff's Department, I've created a document with contact info and maps so you know who your State Representative and Senator are.
It is complex since we have 8 members of the State Legislature and 4 members of the Senate representing the interest of Madison County citizens at the State Capitol. Sadly, few know who our State Representatives and Senators are.
Take a moment and let them know that you are interested in what they are doing to help make you and your family safer by providing radar to our local sheriff.

Representative Mark Baker (R) Dist 74

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I-55/Gluckstadt Road Interchange Improvements

MDOT Project No. NH-0055-21(163)/102315 001000 Madison County

The initial Stakeholder Interviews were conducted on Monday, October 13, 2008, to gather input on the proposed project during early phases of the NEPA (National Environmental Protection Act) process. Information on why the proposed project is needed has been provided to MDOT reps and their environmental contractor for the project: Gresham, Smith and Partners.

MDOT hopes to be able to "fast track" this project.

There are many questions and decisions that must be addressed as part of the environmental impact process. One of the most critical decisions may be whether to close the overpass leaving only the on/off access ramps on either side during specific portions of the reconstruction. This option is estimated to shave months off the construction time frame and save a substantial amount in terms of costs.

Intial public reviews are estimated to be conducted in the Jan/Feb 2009 timeframe.

Your comments are greatly appreciated. Click below.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Madison County 2009 Budget and Tax Levy

The people of Madison County spoke loud and clear via a barrage of petitions, emails and letters in manner never witnessed in Madison County Politics and providing the motivation for the 3 members of the Madison County Board of Supervisors who masterminded a text book “Bait & Switch” routine two weeks ago in which an additional 3 mills were added to an announced 3.33 tax increase; for a total of 6.33 mills, to reconsider.

Over 6,000 petitions were received by the Madison County Chancery Clerk requesting that the shady tax hike be rescinded and any future plans for bond issue undergo a full public review and referendum.

After a futile attempt to explain away the tax hike with a shallow explanation laying the blame on how a two year old previous 1.5mil tax cut, the 3-year old privatization of trash pick up, and even overstating the amount of increased annual support costs for Holmes Junior College resulted in the requirement for a 3.33 mil increase; Board President Tim Johnson never gave an explanation for all the rhetoric of the last 2.5 years as to how there would be no tax hike for the building of Reunion Parkway and Reunion Interchange on I-55; nor why Madison County taxpayers should be burdened with the virtually unheard of local requirement to pay for an Interstate Interchange.

Reunion Interchange would be the first one in Mississippi to be paid for by local government and one of a handful in the entire United States!

In reality, much of the increase is going for Bond Debt Service Costs to pay for the last $50 million bond issue which was approved in 2006 (issued $5M in 2006; $12M in 2007; $33M in 2008), and the income from a 5.3% new growth will help cover costs of inflation, etc.

Actually 2.60 mills goes to bond debt service costs and .73 mils to General County for a 3% pay raise to County Employees and other items. President Tim Johnson stated that a million dollars was required for waste management, but actually the millage for that area was reduced. He also stated that $1M was required for Holmes Junior College, but it is actually less than a 0.5 mil or less than $500K.

Not mentioned was the fact that the 2008 Budget was a deficit budget which included $700K from the uncommitted cash (reserve account). None of this $700K was used, but was it was still included in the 2008 Budget figure... so, that is $700,000, 0.7 mil that could have been reduced from the 3.33 mil increase right off the top!

After discussion, a motion was made by D.I. Smith, with a second by John Bell Crosby to the roll the tax hike back to zero, but that was defeated with a 2-3 split vote; and the 3.33 mil tax increase was passed by a vote of 3-1-1. Tim Johnson, Karl Banks, and Paul Griffin voted for the increase. D.I. Smith voted against it, and John Bell Crosby abstained.

Afterward, Board President Tim Johnson announced that he would not be seeking re-election.

More that 150 residents were present for the hearings and a number expressed frustration with how the County could even consider a tax increase with all the new growth and during these trying economic times, questioning management, engineering fees, and also demanding open, transparent and accountable government. Even Mayor Hawkins-Butler, City of Madison, made a passionate plea for the Board to conduct a scrub of the $60mil budget with an eye for cuts and cost savings and not have any tax increase. That advice went unheeded!

Then Monday night, news started spreading of the outrageous Canton Municipal Separate School District tax hike. They had published Notice for a planned 2.5 mill increase, but late Monday adopted a whopping 19.4 mill increase! Then, on Tuesday after a public outcry rolled the increase back to a 7.7 mill increase. So, many Madison residents will not only have to pay 10% higher county taxes, but now have a 25% increase in Canton School Taxes from 30.89 to 38.59 mills! So, many Madison County taxpayers attended the wrong meeting Monday and were not aware of the huge increase!

Click here to download a spreadsheet comparison of the 2008 levy with the new 2009 levy.

Click here to download a spreadsheet summary of the 2009 Budget Expense Categories compared to the 2008 Budget

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Petition Against Tax Hike

Many, many Madison County residents have requested a way to express their sentiment regarding the recent Madison County tax hike and are using this petition as an official way to communicate and make feelings a part of the permanent record of Madison County.

The Chancery Clerk office says the fax is running continuously and hasn't shut off for hours. They are also accepting scanned emailed copies or email notes with the petition cut and pasted into the body of the note with name and address info provided. They may be sent to: Chancery Clerk at

They are even keeping a log of phone calls to the Chancery Clerk office regarding the tax hike!

Experienced office personnel say there has been nothing equal to this since the "100% reappraisal of property" in 2002-2003 time frame!

Where the tax increase started: "The more things change, the more they stay the same!"

Madison County -- It's deja' vu all over again by Andy Taggart, RED/BLUE

In 2006, my former Madison County Board of Supervisors colleague Doug Jones and I voted against and wrote against a slip-shod $50 million bond issue, knowing it would lead to a tax increase. Now, that is exactly what has happened to Madison County taxpayers.

Doug joined me this past week in writing a follow-up column addressing the facts that led to this outrage. Those who are interested in reading it may find it set out in full below.

As readers will note, the tactics used by the majority of the Madison County Board of Supervisors last week, when they jacked up the tax rate by 20%, perfectly mirror their tactics two years ago when they doubled the county's debt load to about $100 million. Where have you gone, Yogi Berra?


Click to see news article from February 2006 explaining how our current tax fiasco started!

It's deja vu all over again: Here is a follow up opinion piece

By Andy Taggart and Doug Jones

Friday, September 5, 2008

Madison County Taxpayers Upset Over Double Increase

POSTED: 11:40 pm CDT September 4, 2008
Madison County Taxpayers Upset Over Double Increase

MADISON COUNTY, Miss. -- Madison County taxpayers are angry about a property tax hike double than anticipated, 16 WAPT reported.

The county's Board of Supervisors approved a 6.3 mil increase this week, which prompted a strong response to Feedback 16.

From the Internet to the radio, taxpayers want to know why their taxes jumped by the largest amount in the county's history, 16 WAPT's Joseph Pleasant said.

"I would personally like to see Tim Johnson, Karl Banks and Paul Griffin resign," said Frank Halford, a taxpayer, referencing the members of the Board of Supervisors who voted in favor of the mil increase.

The board heard public comment on a 3.3 mil increase before closing public comment and voting on a 6.3 mil increase.

"It's a classic case of bait and switch," Halford said.

Madison County taxpayers are angry at the Board of Supervisors and Board President Tim Johnson, in particular.

A radio ad tells listeners, "Tim Johnson raised your taxes. He had some help -- yeah -- but he was the ring leader."

Johnson, who spoke with 16 WAPT from Birmingham, said the mil tax increase will go exclusively to road projects in the county.

"I truly believe, as we build the infrastructure Madison County needs, that's going to encourage economic and commercial development," he said.

District 3 Supervisor D.I Smith said about 50 taxpayers have called and posted to his Web site Smith said infrastructure is a top priority -- especially at the Gluckstadt Interstate 55 interchange -- but he voted against the tax increase.

"We ought to do it the way we did it in the past: A partnership," he said.

Smith points to the Highland Colony Parkway, where developers, cities and the counties funded the road without a tax increase.

"For families now, it's probably the worst time for us to have this type of tax increase," Smith said.

On a $200,000 home, the increase amounts to about $126. The increase will be even more for people annexed into the city of Madison this year. Smith said those residents will be paying about 28 mils in city taxes for the first time.

WAPT left messages for supervisors John Bell Crosby, Griffin and Banks, but they did not return the station's calls.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Madison County Real Property Tax Calculator

During the last few weeks I've been asked numerous times about taxes, impact of City of Madison Annexation, and impact of Madison County tax millage levy increases. So, to help individuals analyze the various complex tax questions I developed an Excel spreadsheet program which is pretty handy in helping to answer your questions .... click here to down load the Madison County Real Property Tax Calculator file.

I hope this is useful to you. If you have suggested improvements please call or email. Please click below to post comments! Thanks!

Supervisors OK 6.33-mill tax hike

Tuesday, Sept 2, 2008, a PUBLIC HEARING was conducted to review the upcoming 2008-2009 budget and associated tax levy. A public notice had been previously published announcing the budget hearing and proposed 3.33 mil tax levy.

Then on Tuesday after the PUBLIC HEARING closed, the County Administrator informed the Board of "New Growth and Requirements." It is anticipated that another $5oM bond issue will be needed to cover the costs of the projects. So, another 3 mils was added to the already proposed 3.33 mil levy totaling 6.33 mils. There was outrage expressed by many in attendance that such a "Bait and Switch" scheme would be used and many expressed concern as to whether the tax increase was legal with out proper PUBLIC NOTICE.

Supervisors Tim Johnson, Karl Banks and Paul Griffin voted for the increased taxes; and John Bell Crosby and D.I. Smith voted against the increase.

Several residents stated they would oppose future bond issues by signing a petition requesting a referendum on the proposed $50 bond issue. If 1,500 residents sign a petition, the proposed bond issue will have to be approved by voters through a referendum.

On a $100,000 house, the annual tax increase will be $63.30; on a $200,000 house, $126.60. On a $300,000 house, it will be $189.90 annually and $253.20 on a $400,000 house.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


The Madison Count Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on its proposed budget and on a proposed ad valorem tax revenue increase for fiscal year 2009 on Tuesday, September 2, 2008 at 9:00 a.m. in the board room of the Madison County Office Complex at 125 W. North Street. Canton, Mississippi.

The Madison County Board of Supervisors is now operating with a projected total budget revenue of $59,075,686. (Forty-five percent) or $26,638,883, of such revenue is obtained through ad valorem taxes. For next fiscal year, the proposed budget has total projected revenue of $69,798,446. Of that amount, 45 percent or $31,556,839, is proposed to be financed through a total ad valorem tax levy.

For next fiscal year, the Madison County Board of Supervisors plans to increase your ad valorem tax millage rate by 3.33 mills from 32.30 mills to 35.63 mills. This increase means that you will pay more in ad valorem taxes on your home, automobile tag, utilities, business fixtures and equipment and rental real property.

Any citizen of Madison County is invited to attend this public hearing on the proposed ad valorem tax increase, and will be allowed to speak for a reasonable amount of time and offer tangible evidence before any vote is taken.

Click here to review comments and MAKE YOUR VIEWS KNOWN:

Board of Supervisors
D.I. Smith
John Bell Crosby 601.874.5618
Tim Johnson 601.955.6672
D.I. Smith 601.707.8845
Karl Banks 601.832.2962
Paul Griffin 601.937.2842

County Administrator Donnie Caughman
P.O. Box 608
Canton, MS 39046

Let the local news reporters know your feeling regarding the proposed tax increase!

Write a letter to the editor:
Clarion Ledger
Madison County Journal
Madison County Herald
Northside Sun

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Unredeemed 2006 Madison County Tax Sale Parcels (as of July 1, 2008)

Click for a list of properties sold at the 2006 Madison County tax sale which have not been redeemed as of July 1, 2008.

Extract of Clarion Ledger article,

Madison Co. aims to recover overdue taxes

Sunday, August 10, 2008:

In addition to this year's tax sale proceedings, property owners also must pay their outstanding 2005 taxes before Aug. 28 or tax sale deeds can be issued to investors who purchased properties at the tax sales two years ago.

As of this week, about 332 of Madison County's properties that were sold during the 2006 tax sale have not been redeemed, Johnston said.

"There has been a ton of payments from July until now," he said. "We'll see a lot more leading up to the deadline."

Johnston said his office aims to whittle the number of parcels down to 100 before tax sale deeds are issued. About 89 did not pay by the deadline last year.

"We do everything in our power to get the taxes paid before people lose their land," he said.

Still, about two dozen people will turn at some point, saying they didn't know their property had gone through the tax sale process, he said.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Madison County 2008 Tax Roll Inspection and Examination


Enews Update, Wednesday, July 23, 2008:


I know some of you are like me and don’t pay much attention to the public notices in the local newspapers, but you might want to read this one or you may be surprised when you receive your annual tax statement!

Click here for PUBLIC NOTICE, other info and inspect your property tax info.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Madison County Tax Sale 2008

Click here to download Excel Spreadsheet listing the results of the 2008 Madison County Tax Sale

Click here for Madison County Tax Collector Tax Sale Parcel Information in csv format

Sale to help Madison get back $3.5M in back taxes

By Elizabeth Crisp • • July 17, 2008

Madison County tax sale data is now online.

The county will hold its annual tax sale next month in an attempt to recoup more than $3.5 million in back taxes.

Property owners who do not pay taxes by the last Monday in August face having their properties auctioned at the tax sale.

Typically, property taxes are paid without interest from November to February.

Beginning Feb. 1, an accruing penalty of 1 percent per month is applied to all unpaid taxes.

Property owners are notified by mail three times, and the tax sale information is published in The Madison County Herald twice.

At the tax sale, people bid on the taxes owed.

The property owners have two years to pay back the auctioned amounts on their properties before deeds can be issued to the buyers.

Property owners who pay their taxes during the two-year period face an 18 percent interest rate, or 1.5 percent per month.

Purchases may be paid by cash, credit card or personal check payable to Kay Pace, Tax Collector, Madison County, Miss.

Buyers must fill out an application at the tax collector’s office before the sale.

A spreadsheet of unpaid taxes is available on the Madison County tax collector’s Web site at

The information is updated every 24 hours as more owners pay their taxes.

The sale will be held at 8 a.m. Aug. 25 at the Justice Court building on U.S. 51.

To comment on this story, call Elizabeth Crisp at (601) 961-7303.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Property Tax Estimator

Many residents have been asking what will be the impact of annexation on their property taxes. An estimate can be obtained by using The Real Property Tax Estimate
which is located on the Madison County Tax Assessors web site.

If you don't know the value of your property you can use the Land Roll Express Search
to find the value of your land and improvements.

Using the The Real Property Tax Estimate calculate the amount of tax selecting the appropriate filing status and selecting "None" as the City. Click calculate... this should be close to what the taxes are now. Then change the City to Madison and re-calculate. Remember to select the correct School District: Canton or Madison. This will give a close approximation of your taxes after annexation.

You can also use the The Real Property Tax Estimate to see the huge impact of Homestead Exemption. Not only does it decease your actual tax by $300 or more, but it reduces the assessed value from 15% of appraised value to 10%.

The City of Madison millage is 43.8% higher than the City of Ridgeland. Click here to see current Millage Rates .

Click here to see a 2009 Tax Millage Rate comparison of Madison County, Madison the City, and Ridgeland.

Hopefully, any increase in taxes should be offset with reductions in the cost of your property insurance due to lower fire rating code.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Smith is Selected to Attend The State Executive Development Institute

About The State Executive Development Institute

D.I. Smith attended the State Executive Development Institute (SEDI) conducted by the John C. Stennis Institute of Governement, Mississippi State University, May 4-9, 2008.

The State Executive Development Institute (SEDI) is an annual educational workshop offered by the John C. Stennis Institute of Government. The SEDI is designed to prepare mid- to upper-level state and local government executives to be more effective leaders. A broad range of topics are presented by government officials, researchers, and instructors in order to provide participants a well-rounded and applicable curriculum. The SEDI curriculum includes management theory, organizational development concepts and techniques, administrative and applied management techniques, and a variety of other related and timely topics.

Held on the campus of Mississippi State University, SEDI brings many of the unique resources found on the university campus to the program. Mississippi State Personnel Board Certified Public Manager Program and participants may also receive three graduate-level hours in Public Policy Administration at Mississippi State University upon completion of the program.

A maximum of 30 participants are chosen to attend SEDI each year, based on applicants’ professional experience and responsibilities. Priority is given to Mississippi’s senior state and local officials.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Madison County News

WMGO 1370AM CANTON, MS - Jerry Lousteau Morning News , Friday, April 25, 2008

WMGO 1370 Canton, MS

Commentary regarding...
... Foreclosures in Madison County

... Madison County "SUCKERS!"

... FMCHA; Storm Debris; DI

Click here to see Letter to the Editor; Madison County Journal, April 24, 2008: Taypayers being "suckered"

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Where is the new Madison County Office Complex located?

Where is the new Madison County Admin Office Complex located?
146 Center St or 125 W. North St
The Madison County Board of Supervisors is now meeting in the new Board Room located in the new Madison County Office Complex. It is attached to the Chancery Court Building which is on the north side of the Canton Square... Just enter the building and go down the hall and into the new building... the board room is on the 1st floor.
Or you can enter directly into the new building from the north side (North Street). But you will have to take the elevator to 1st floor.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Mosquito-Borne Illnesses

The state Department of Health confirmed today Mississippi’s first human case of West Nile virus for the year in Lincoln County. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is the second reported human case in the United States for 2008.

For more information on the virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses, a checklist to reduce the mosquito population in and around homes and a brochure on the virus, visit the MSDH Web site at or call the WNV toll-free hotline from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 1-877-978-6453.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Pot Hole Repair Request for County Roads and Streets

Use this link to submit an email request for a Pothole Repair on roads and streets outside of city limits.

Also, if you see roads requiring "shoulder repair," e.g., where there is a drop off or trench between the asphalt and the gravel, please submit a repair request by modifying the email.