County tax collections down

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 5, 2009

NATCHEZ — Adams County residents who have not paid their taxes have resulted in a drop in the county’s tax collections.

Collections for 2009 are approximately down 2 percent from this time last year, leaving a $185,000 gap in the budget, County Administrator Cathy Walker said.

“Essentially we budgeted to have more money right now than we do,” Walker said.

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While the issue was raised at Monday’s Adams County Board of Supervisors meeting, no action was taken.

“When the money isn’t coming in it’s a big deal,” Walker said. “But right now we’re not looking at making any cuts.”

Instead of cuts, county department heads will be made aware of the situation and will be asked to keep spending in their departments restricted to necessities.

In looking at the deficit, the biggest shortcoming was seen in real and personal property taxes, Walker said.

Those taxes include land, homes and businesses and the contents of those businesses.

Additionally, a loss of state funded contributions to the car tag tax has caused a deficit in that area also, Walker said.

Traditionally, the state has allocated money to every county to help defray the cost drivers pay for their car tags.

Walker said that fund, which should be replenished, by the cigarette tax, recently dried-up and the county lost its steady stream of funding.

Walker and other county officials blame the sagging economy for the tax deficit.

Supervisor Darryl Grennell said it’s unsettling when tax dollars are not coming in like they should.

“People are watching what they’re spending,” Grennell said. “I think this shows the recession is in Adams County, and we have to deal with that.”

Grennell said the supervisors will have to take a wait and see approach on the issue to determine how to correct the problem.

Walker said it is possible that many residents are simply late on paying their taxes and will make payment.

Residents who fail to pay will be subject to a tax auction in August.