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Isle of Capri casino seeks to reduce boat value

NATCHEZ — Representatives from the Isle of Capri casino have asked the Adams County Board of Supervisors for a reduction of approximately $4.3 million in the assessed value of the casino’s dockside boat.

The Natchez Democrat reports (http://bit.ly/1E0a5nU) the casino’s representative at the tax assessment objection hearing, Brian Brandstetter of Property Tax Service of Dallas, said the company agreed with most of the personal property assessment for the casino’s gaming devices and equipment, furniture and buffet.

At issue is the value boat, which is actually a structure built on a barge.

Brandstetter said the county’s assessment office valued the barge — including improvements — at $9.57 million, while the casino calculated its value to be $5.2 million.

Brandstetter said the difference may have come from what was considered to be the initial cost of the barge when calculating its current value. Isle of Capri’s cost at the time of purchase was $4.463 million, while the county’s number for original cost was $9.4 million.

Peggy Hegwood, who is in charge of personal property assessments at the tax assessor’s office, said the number was determined using the 1996 cost of the barge to its original owners, Lady Luck.

“(The Mississippi Department of Revenue’s) rules for casino specifically says to obtain the original cost by year, bring it current and depreciate everything including the barge, and that is what I have done,” she said.

Brandstetter said even though the formula supplied by the state has been used, other factors should be considered as well.

The board should also consider that since Hurricane Katrina, the state has allowed casino structures to be built on land, Brandstetter said.

Based the sale of similar vessels between 2002 and 2012, the barge is worth approximately $2.25 million, he said. Similar vessels sold for scrap brought approximately $500,000 in scrap value.

The board voted to take the matter under advisement and will act at a later time.

The Isle of Capri announced last week plans to close its Natchez casino and sell its hotel property to the parent company of Magnolia Bluffs Casino.

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