County Gift

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 14, 2007

Best gift for county in 2008?

 Since gift-giving season is upon us, maybe now is a good time to suggest a gift Panola County supervisors can give Panola Countians, even if the present takes all of 2008 to deliver.

In the coming year, the board of supervisors should work with the county land development commission to introduce building code inspections for new homes.

The standard for code inspections is known as the International Building Code. The time is long overdue to implement the IBC in unincorporated Panola County. Building a home in the county should not be a roll of the dice, dependent on the assurances of the homebuilder and the watchful eye of the homeowner.

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At present new homeowners in the county either hire a private inspector or simply cross their fingers, hoping the homebuilder isn’t cutting corners. Panola County can do better. Shouldn’t a family that builds in Mossy Oak Cove be afforded the same peace of mind as those with homes built in Dogwood Hills?

As of this week, 97 county permits were pulled in 2007 for construction of new homes in unincorporated Panola County. Including the permit totals from 2005 (95) and 2006 (106), Panola County is poised to see almost 300 homes built over a three-year period. If each home is appraised at only $125,000 with regular homestead exemption, the annual property taxes easily exceed $300,000.

Surely a new $300,000 on the tax rolls can pay the salary of a home inspector or two.

Since property taxes are the lifeblood of county government, then property owners surely have the right to ask county government to return the favor when the foundation is poured for a new home. That makes good economic sense. Local government should be eager to take care of those who take care of it.

In 2008, our supervisors and land commission should take care of business: get to work on building codes.