Taxes will not go up

Published 12:29 am Friday, September 9, 2011

ERIC SHELTON | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT Supervisor Mike Lazarus, right, listens as County Administrator Joe Murray discusses the county budget at Thursday’s public hearing .

NATCHEZ — Only three members of the public attended a public hearing Thursday on Adams County’s budget, which will not include a tax increase.

“We are keeping it the same,” Murray said. “We did that by cutting the budgets of some of our departments.”

Murray said most county departments experienced budget cuts this year.

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“The bigger departments carry a heavier brunt because of the size of their budgets,” Murray said.

Adams County is now operating with a projected total budget revenue of $22,396,922. Of that total, 57.56 percent comes from ad valorem taxes. For the next fiscal year, the budget has a projected revenue of $25,249,476.

“I think we have done well to keep the budget at the same millage rate,” Murray said.

Board President Darryl Grennell said some area residents have voiced concerns over an advertisement announcing a tax increase in The Natchez Democrat. He said the announcement, which is mandated by the state to be published, will always contain language of a tax increase, even though that is not the case.

“You can have a major tax decrease, but it must be advertised as an increase,” Grennell said.

Natchez resident John Seyfarth Jr. asked about the salaries of Braden School employees, stating they seemed particularly high. Grennell said it was a topic that needed to be broached at a school board meeting.

In other news from the meeting:

  • The board passed a motion to reduce the tax bill for the owners of the Morgantown Plaza shopping center. The plaza lost two anchor stores, and Adams County Tax Assessor Reynolds Atkins reassessed the location and suggested a 37-percent reduction of the tax bill. Grennell said the motion is only germane to the 2011 tax rolls.

Rosa Seyfarth, who attended the public hearing with her husband, John Jr., asked if lowering the taxes for one property owner who lost tenants would open the door for everyone to do it.

Grennell said that the 37-percent tax decrease is far less than the property owners originally asked.