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City holds line on taxes

WESSON – After at least 18 years without a tax increase, townofficials entertained the idea of having to raise taxes “one day”but decided against it during Tuesday’s monthly meeting of themayor and board of aldermen.

“You know one of these days we’re going to have to raise taxes,”said Alderman Robert Derrick while reviewing the town’s millagerates for the upcoming fiscal year.

Other aldermen agreed as Alderman Hollis Cowen Jr. pointed outthat taxes had not been raised since he took a seat on the board 18years ago.

Town officials also noted that the millage rate was nowhere nearother municipalities in the area, such as Hazlehurst, which has amillage rate over 60, according to Mayor Alton Shaw.

However, the board voted unanimously not to change the town’smillage rate of 26.25.

The board plans to meet at 5 p.m., Monday to vote on the 2005proposed budget, with total revenue of $406,658 and total expensesof $399,653.

In other matters, officials talked about the repeated problemswith traffic in the town’s cemetery.

Shaw said the road in the cemetery was being used as athoroughfare, especially when nearby Wesson Attendance Center letsout every afternoon.

Aldermen discussed the possibility of locking all gates to thecemetery so vehicles could not travel through it, but the idea wasquickly shot down.

“You’ve got some elderly people who like to go through there tovisit the cemetery,” said Derrick. “I hate to penalize the peoplewho use it for what they’re supposed to use it for.”

Aldermen brought up the use of signs and more patrolling asdeterrents to those trying to cut through the cemetery. PoliceChief Steve Carlisle said speeding and misuse of the roadway in thecemetery had been a problem for many years, despite policepresence.

“They slow down as long as you’re there,” he said. “They’regoing to come through the cemetery, no matter how many signs youput up. It’s just no control.”

Aldermen decided to lock the north gate, which is closest to theschool, as well as put up signs. This will still allow vehicles totravel through the cemetery for visiting purposes, saidCarlisle.

Other discussion during the meeting involved replacing about 100feet of water line on East Railroad Street, where Shaw said therehave been at least three leaks in the past four months.

Aldermen also voted to improve an undeveloped section of FifthStreet in order to grant access to a new home located at the end ofFifth Street.