Supervisors set hearing on tax increase

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 28, 1999

Adams County supervisors will present their case to local residents on Sept. 7 for a 9.4 percent tax increase for the 1999-2000 budget.

If the budget passes, Adams County taxpayers could find their taxes raised by $55 per $100,000 property value to fund outstanding capitol improvements, said county Administrator Charlie Brown.

Earlier last week, Brown said the county would levy 2.5 mills, or $400,000, to help pay for a new bulk loading dock at the Natchez-Adams County Port. That 2.5 mills is included in the total 3.66 mill increase being requested by the county.

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The public is invited to comment on the proposed budget on at 6 p.m. Sept. 7 in the county administrative building on State Street.

County officials will present the $25.3 million budget, which includes additional money for various capitol expenditures like the juvenile justice facility, the courthouse renovation and roof repair and replacement of worn-out road equipment, Brown said.

The 3.66 mills of additional taxation will also cover completion of a bulk loading dock at the Natchez-Adams County Port.

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.

Woodpulp shipped through the port in 1998-1999 is down to 53 percent of what was shipped ten years earlier, according to port tonnage reports. Plywood and lumber is down to only 13 percent of what was shipped 10 years before.

The full difference between the proposed budget of $25,329,548 and last year’s budget of $20,949,571 is not represented by the tax increase, said Brown.

&uot;The numbers don’t mean much,&uot; he said. &uot;We also took out a loan which will factor into the difference between the two budgets.&uot;

Supervisors will adopt the final form of the budget at their regular meeting at 9 a.m. Sept. 10.

Participants in the Sept. 7 hearing will likely question the tax increase, Brown said.

&uot;And we will explain the need for the increase,&uot; he said.

The slated improvements are underway and the county is obligated to complete them, Brown said.

&uot;The bulk of the increase will go to capitol projects,&uot; said Supervisor Thomas &uot;Boo&uot; Campbell. &uot;We’re also paying on some debts. Basically the tax increase is the cost of doing business.&uot;

Supervisor Sammy Cauthen said he favors a portion of the increase, but not all of it.

&uot;Part of it is a necessary evil,&uot; he said, &uot;but another part of it I’m going to vote against. They want to give county employees pay raises. It’s just hard to see giving county employees pay raises when private enterprise is cutting jobs – even the hospital has had to cut back.&uot;

Both Campbell and Cauthen said they anticipate negative feedback on the tax increase at the public forum.

&uot;Of course they’re going to question it,&uot; said Campbell. &uot;They question many things we do, and this will be no exception.&uot;

Cauthen said he expected people to be &uot;outraged&uot; over the pay increases, and said he would be in attendance to make his points.