Supervisors working on tax proposal

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 30, 2000

Adams County supervisors began a budget hearing Tuesday with a proposed tax increase of 4.1 mills but may have been able to cut that proposal by the end of the day.

Supervisors will meet at 8 a.m. today to approve the proposed tax increase for Adams County taxpayers.

In the last day of a lengthy budget process Tuesday, supervisors made budget cuts and dropped what started that morning as a proposed 4.1 millage increase to about 2 mills.

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The public will get a chance to express their thoughts on the tax increase proposal at one of two public hearings next month. The hearings are set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 7, and 9 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 12.

Final figures were not available Tuesday, but a 2.5 mill increase is equal to about $25 more on a $100,000 house, said Reynolds Atkins, county tax assessor.

&uot;I think we did an exceptional job in making cuts to reduce from the possible 4.1 down to where we are today,&uot; said supervisor Darryl Grennell. Grennell said he thinks supervisors are being good stewards of county money by trying to provide &uot;quality service at a low cost.&uot;

And, unlike last year, this year’s budget will include a cost of living increase for county employees. This will be their first such increase in about three years.

Supervisor Lynwood Easterling said this budget will benefit the community by funding the salary increases and providing extra dollars to the road department for road repairs.

&uot;I’m hoping (the community) can understand what that can really do for them,&uot; Easterling said.

After Tuesday’s meeting, Grennell and Easterling estimated 4.1 mills equals $615,000 and 2 mills equals $390,000.

&uot;They’re making an effort to try to cut corners the best way they can,&uot; Atkins said.

As late as last week, supervisors were requesting department heads to examine whether they could make more cuts to their budgets, Atkins said.

At the beginning of the Tuesday meeting, county Administrator Charlie Brown said budget changes made up to that point would require the county to need a 4.14 millage increase.

The increase covered primarily four areas: employee raises, payments to the juvenile justice center, five months of operation costs for juvenile justice center and the road department increase. The actual increase to the road department would be 4.21 mills, but this increase was offset by decreases in other departments, Brown said.

Supervisors said an increase in the road budget is needed to to provide new asphalt on some county roads that can not be resealed. &uot;I’m not in a position to cut the road budget right now,&uot; said board president Virginia Salmon.

This would be the first increase the road department has received in recent years, officials said. &uot;I think that’s quite monumental,&uot; said county road Manager Russell Dorris.

In addition to other cuts, the board cut 1.2 mills out of the budget Tuesday by deciding to borrow money for a matching grant project at the Natchez-Adams&160;County Port instead of raising the money with millage.

Supervisor Thomas &uot;Boo&uot; Campbell would not say he was happy with the budget but said he felt comfortable with it. &uot;We did the best we could,&uot; he said. It was the &uot;best we could do without some cuts of service.&uot;

Natchez aldermen have proposed a 20 percent ad valorem tax increase and will hold a public hearing later this month to discuss the proposal.