County considers tax hike

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 4, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; The owner of a $100,000 house would pay $23.60 more a year under an ad valorem tax increase proposed by Adams County supervisors, County Administrator Charlie Brown said Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the City of Natchez is proposing no change in the millage it will levy for the 2003-2004 fiscal year.

The Board of Supervisors will hold a hearing to receive public comment on the plan at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the board meeting room on State Street.

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The board will vote on a budget for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1, and a tax increase of 2.36 mills to help fund it, at 9 a.m. Sept. 12.

Supervisors voted last year not to change its tax millage; the year before, they actually voted to decrease taxes by 1 mill for those outside the city and 0.33 mills for residents inside the city.

Revenues from the increase would mainly be used to make up shortfalls in three areas, Brown said:

4Overlaying roads &045; although no new roads will be constructed and no gravel roads paved during the 2003-2004 fiscal year. &uot;We cut $800,000 from the road budget this year,&uot; Brown said.

And with the county expecting to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars from the closing of the International Paper Natchez mill, he added, &uot;If we don’t do it this year, who knows when we can do it?&uot;

4Paying $170,000 for operational expenses for the Natchez-Adams County Port &uot;to keep it open,&uot; Brown said. &uot;Although some good things are about to happen there, it looks like.&uot;

4Constructing emergency watershed projects to combat some of the county’s worst erosion problems &uot;to keep some of our roads from going off into a bayou,&uot; Brown said.

The county has taken in $17.94 million this fiscal year, of which almost $8.8 million, or 49 percent, is from ad valorem taxes.

For the next year fiscal year, the county would &045; with the proposed increase &045; take in $9.67 million in ad valorem tax revenue &045; 54.5 percent of its projected $17.76 million in revenues.

The City of Natchez will also a hearing at 5:30 p.m. Monday in the council chambers on Pearl Street on its proposed budget, which will include no millage increase.

The budget and tax levy will be adopted by aldermen at a special meeting set for 5:30 p.m. Sept. 15 at the council chambers.

According to state law, cities and counties must approve their budgets for the next fiscal year on or before Sept. 15.