Appraiser Under Fire

The Madison County property appraiser is under fire. A local newspaper is reporting she may have caused the county not to collect millions of dollars in property tax, but the property appraiser is denying that accusation.

Debra Bassett has been Madison County's property appraiser for years and says she's done her job without showing favoritism, but her reputation is now under fire.

A local newspaper says its review of tax records shows she undervalued Nestle Waters by millions, an accusation she flatly denies.

Debra says, "The value of the building was roughly $36 million. Its value will increase in 2005. It will probably double based on the fact the rest of the building will come."

Bassett says the company was not fully operational during the time of the appraisal and could not be taxed at its current value. A spokesman for the Florida Department of Revenue agrees.

Dave Bruns, spokesman for the Florida Department of Revenue, says, "According to our review the property in question was not in operation on January 1st. That means it should not go on the tax role at full value.”

Bruns says the department has fully reviewed Madison County's tax papers and found no discrepancies. Basset says any information pertaining to Nestle or any building can be found on the county's website. The Madison Carrier stands by its story.