Enhancing Services

Woman in glasses smiles in front of brick building

Extension Center Helps Officials Serve Public

Story by Susan Collins-Smith • Photos by Kevin Hudson

Eunice Blake has spent more than 35 years serving Amite County citizens in the tax assessor and collector’s office.

In those years, she’s looked to the Mississippi State University Extension Service for support.

As a unit of Extension, the Center for Government and Community Development creates and delivers training, information, and technical assistance to county and city governments, community organizations, and businesses all over the state. The center works with the Mississippi Department of Revenue, the Mississippi Assessors and Collectors Association, and the Office of the State Auditor to deliver some of its training.

Although Blake has worked in the tax assessor and collector’s office since 1980, she says the center helps her and her employees stay on top of new and changing information.

“I really like that Extension offers educational opportunities at different times and locations, so that we are able to schedule our trainings to better fit our schedules,” Blake says. “I also use and encourage my employees to use the resources on the website.”

“The Extension Service has definitely been a great resource to have in the years I've worked in this office. The programs and assistance they offer are excellent. The employees are pleasant and easy to work with, too.”

EUNICE BLAKE

Map shows Liberty, Mississippi

 

Recently, the center has added regular live webinars to its educational lineup. This allows assessors and collectors to learn in their own offices, and the webinars also are recorded to accommodate schedule conflicts.

“Mississippi’s new tag and title system went live in October,” said Terence Norwood, an Extension instructor with the center. “This was a major system upgrade that affected every county in the state. The webinars helped us train everyone on the system to get them ready.”

Easily accessible resources and classroom instruction help officials and employees follow the strict rules of their jobs when serving Mississippi citizens.

“These programs provide local elected officials the tools and resources to do their jobs more efficiently and effectively. But perhaps more importantly, it helps them to carry out the responsibilities in compliance with laws and regulations.”

TERENCE NORWOOD

Signature line on tax return

Blake holds certifications from the following courses:

  • Mississippi Certified Appraisers School.
  • Collector of Revenue I.
  • Collector of Revenue II.

She also attends the summer and fall educational conferences and takes advantage of the center’s webinars.

Through the center’s training, tax collectors and assessors learn about:

  • mapping.
  • valuating urban and agricultural land.
  • preparing and maintaining tax rolls.
  • appraising personal, residential, and commercial property.
  • valuating and equalizing property for ad valorem purposes.
•	Five women standing and smiling inside an office

 

MSU Extension Service
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