Leaders mull lower new year tax levy

Published 5:00 am Monday, August 31, 2009

The city of Brookhaven will not be raising millage this year ontaxes. But in the wake of rising property value, the implicationson property taxes remain uncertain.

“The city has not changed its millage, but the county when theyreappraised has changed the land values,” said City Clerk MikeJinks. “As of right now we haven’t set millage for this year.”

The millage rate is used in conjunction with property values todetermine how much citizens pay in property taxes each year.

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Each year city lawmakers set the millage rate during budgethearings, so it will have to be set this year by their projecteddate of completion, Sept. 15. Jinks said he feels fairlycomfortable saying the current millage rate of 35.24 will drop thisyear, though at this point it’s hard to tell by how much.

“The value of property has gone up, so you actually pay morebased on the same millage,” Jinks said. “But the millage rate isnot going up, and actually we anticipate that due to debt servicethat the millage rate will go down.”

An advertisement in The DAILY LEADER on Friday indicated thatthe rise in tax value has made it so that the revenue generated bythe current millage rate of 35.24 could now be generated by a rateof 32.08. Jinks said if the city were to leave the millage rate asis, it would generate an additional $300,000 for the city, based onbonds, solid waste and general funds.

The school system taxes are not figured into the current rates,Jinks said, adding that they will have to address the situation aswell.

He said the advertisement was run as a fulfillment of alast-minute requirement from the Mississippi Legislature.

“The law is that any county that did a complete reappraisal hasto fulfill this requirement,” he said. “They listed Lincoln Countyas having had a reappraisal, so we’re required to publish this andsend a letter back to them to let them know we complied with theirlaw.”

The law, which was passed during this year’s second legislativespecial session, says a taxing district in which the assessed valueof the taxing district has increased because of a reappraisalcannot be applied to that taxing district unless a governing boardhas published a notice in a newspaper stating the lower millagerate that would produce the same amount of revenue from ad valorem,or property, taxes. This would include a city, county, schooldistrict or other taxing district.

“All this came about around the last minute of the last day sowe’re scrambling around tyring to get everything we need to do tocomply with the law,” Jinks said.