County considering tax increase
Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 26, 1999
Adams County supervisors are contemplating a tax increase to pay off improvements for the Natchez-Adams County Port.
County Administrator Charlie Brown said a 2.5 mill increase in county taxes was factored to generate the $400,000 needed to pay off a new bulk loading facility and older port improvements. The 2.5 mill increase in taxes should equate to $38 per every $100,000 of home value, he said.
Brown said the volume of business at the port has dropped significantly in the last year, creating a shortfall for payment of outstanding debt.
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The county is building a $5 million bulk loading dock at the port to diversify the types of products available for shipment through Natchez.
&uot;In the past fiscal year, we’ve seen a sharp decrease in wood products,&uot; port Director Pat Murphy said. &uot;Our customers have seen increased competition from overseas suppliers.&uot;
Murphy said when local industry suffered, the port suffered twice as much – literally going and coming.
&uot;When business is down, we lose the raw products coming in and the finished products going out,&uot; he said.
Ninety percent of all vendors to the port are from Natchez, Murphy said, meaning that the port’s future is tied very closely to the local economy.
County officials are still completing the specifics of the new budget, Brown said.
Other county projects such as the $2.7 million juvenile justice facility and courthouse renovations will not require tax increases, Brown said.
Both Murphy and Brown are hopeful the increase will only be required for next fiscal year.
&uot;Since the county owns the port, it must make the debt payments to avoid default on the bond issues,&uot; Brown said. &uot;It is anticipated that the port will be in financial condition to make its debt payments in the following fiscal year and the county will reduce its millage by that 2.5 mills in that year,&uot; he said.