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Board of Supervisors of Clarke County v. BTH Quitman Hickory, LLC

Supreme Court of Mississippi

October 18, 2018

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS OF CLARKE COUNTY, MISSISSIPPI
v.
BTH QUITMAN HICKORY, LLC

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 01/13/2017

          CLARKE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. LESTER F. WILLIAMSON, JR.

          TRIAL COURT ATTORNEYS: WILLIAM W. SIMMONS ELLIOTT H. CLARK RICHARD G. NORRIS, II GREG SNOWDEN

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: RICHARD G. NORRIS, II GREG SNOWDEN

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: NONE

          BEFORE WALLER, C.J., COLEMAN AND MAXWELL, JJ.

          COLEMAN, JUSTICE.

         ¶1. BTH Quitman Hickory, LLC, challenged the amount of the ad valorem taxes assessed by the Clarke County Board of Supervisors by appealing the assessments to the Clarke County Circuit Court. However, BTH Quitman did not submit a bond with its appeals; therefore, the Board of Supervisors moved to dismiss the appeals. The circuit court found in favor of BTH Quitman, and the Board filed the instant interlocutory appeal. Because the Court has squarely addressed a similar issue in its opinion in Natchez Hospital Co., LLC v. Adams County Board of Supervisors, 238 So.3d 1162 (Miss. 2018), we reverse the circuit court's judgment and remand the case for the circuit court to dismiss BTH Quitman's case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. BTH Quitman owns a torrefaction and wood-pellet facility located in Quitman County, Mississippi. According to the Board,

In order to induce BTH [Quitman] to build its facility in Clarke County, the Board entered an Inducement Agreement with BTH [Quitman], exempting BTH [Quitman] from all ad valorem taxes that would otherwise be due . . . . As a result of the agreement, BTH [Quitman] made significant investment in equipment . . . but has only had to pay approximately [four percent] of the equipment's assessed value each year in ad valorem taxes.

         In 2016, the Board's appraisal estimates for BTH Quitman's four pieces of equipment totaled

         $62, 273, 746. Unhappy with the valuation, BTH Quitman requested a reduction from $62, 273, 746 to $10, 000, 414. The Board did reduce the assessment from $62, 273, 746 to $48, 068, 654. After the Mississippi Department of Revenue approved the Board-submitted tax rolls, the Board then gave its final approval of the tax rolls.

         ¶3. BTH Quitman filed four complaints [1] in the circuit court challenging the assessment. However, BTH Quitman did not file a bond with its complaints, so the Board moved to dismiss the appeals for lack of jurisdiction. The circuit court found in favor of BTH Quitman, holding that Mississippi Code Section 27-35-119(2) did not include a bond requirement in order to appeal ...


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