County gives pay raises

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 28, 2001

Adams County employees will get a 3 percent raise for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1 – and it will not mean an increase in taxes, County Administrator Charlie Brown told supervisors Monday.

&uot;I’m so happy I&160;don’t know what to do,&uot; said Geneva Anderson, a deputy clerk in the Tax Collector’s Office. &uot;I very much approve of them giving us a raise, especially since the cost of living is so high.&uot;

Actually, property tax millage used to fund county government will go down from the current 56.76 mills to 55.76 mills for those living outside Natchez and from 55.01 mills to 54.68 mills for those living in Natchez. Brown acknowledged that the decrease will only mean a few dollars less in property tax a year for Adams County residents. A one-mill decrease would only save the owner of a $100,000 house outside Natchez $10 a year.

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But &uot;after last’s year circumstance, it’s good&uot; to be able to reduce millage, Supervisor Virginia Salmon said, referring to the board’s increasing taxes last year by 1.95 mills.

Chancery and circuit court employees, along with elected county officials, will not received the cost of living adjustments.

A mill represents one-tenth of every cent of a property’s assessed value and is used to figure property taxes.

Meanwhile, county employees interviewed Monday said they are pleased to get a raise, to put it mildly.

&uot;I could use 3 percent – how about you?&uot; Henry Jo Byrd, executive secretary to Sheriff Tommy Ferrell, asked Major Bill McDaniel of the Sheriff’s Office Monday afternoon. McDaniel just nodded, added that &uot;we really appreciate what (supervisors) have done in giving us a good, fair raise.&uot;

But at the same time, property tax millage used to fund the Natchez-Adams County School District, which is separate from the tax rate the Board of Supervisors approves, will go up from 43.90 mills to 46.63 mills.

Property tax millage for schools is approved by the district’s school board, not county supervisors. &uot;It’s ridiculous that they can do this without us having anything to say about it,&uot;&160;said Supervisor Thomas &uot;Boo&uot; Campbell.

Due to a recent reassessment of property, Adams County should take in $169,069 more in taxes in fiscal 2001-02 than in the current fiscal year.

Brown said he would be more at ease if the county had larger reserves in its budget. &uot;But it’s possible we can find ways to decrease spending in the coming year&uot; to build up reserves, said board President Sammy Cauthen.

The school district should take in $598,640 more next year in tax revenues due to the millage increase and reassessment, Brown said.

Adams County has a budget of about $21 million including all revenue sources. Each mill collected by the county from inside the city is equal to $167,000. Outside the city, each mill is equal to $84,000.