Saturday, April 19, 2014  
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Staff Writer

   An Oxford real estate developer and his partners will collect a hefty sum from both the county and city, thanks to a judgment from the Mississippi Supreme Court.
   Clarence Chapman and his partners in Chartre Consulting sued the county in 2010 because they said Tax Assessor David Melton assessed the value of homes they developed in the Sundown Gardens subdivision, as well as apartments in the Dogwoods complex, at too high a price. The partnership was therefore forced to pay too much in taxes, Chapman said.
   An October ruling from the Supreme court broke a nearly two-year stalemate between Chatre and Grenada County officials. In a similar case, the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled against Humphreys County officials and in favor of real estate developers who felt the county was demanding too much taxation. That ruling set a precedent by which Grenada officials reluctantly feel obligated to abide, according to Melton.
   “Chapman is the only person with whom we’ve dealt,” said District Two Supervisor and Board President Chad Bridges.
   The county will reimburse Chapman and his partners to the tune of $244,335 for Sundown Estates and $105,142 to Dogwoods Apartments, Melton said.
   “The Mississippi Assessors and Collectors Association adamantly yet respectfully protests the state Supreme Court’s decision in the Humphreys County case because it feels that developers are taking unfair advantage of a system that, unfortunately, allows it,” said Melton. “We believe that everyone should pay their fair share in taxation, and that developers are getting off very lightly on the assessed value of many of these homes.”

Differing assessments
   Chapman and his partners developed 63 homes in Sundown, some of which are low income. The homes went on the tax rolls in 2010.
   “We provided homes that many of these people could never have dreamed of,” Chapman told the Grenada County Board of Supervisors when he last appeared before them in August. “We’re trying to be good corporate citizens,” he said.

For the full story, see the online edition or the printed edition of the GrenadaStar.

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