Supers consider millage increase
By Dwayne Bremer
Aug 30, 2014, 01:12
The Hancock County Board of Supervisors on Friday appeared to agree in principal to a 2.61 mil tax increase for the upcoming budget year.
Supervisors are expected to vote on the measure at a meeting on Sept. 15.
About 40 residents attended a public hearing Friday which supervisors hosted to discuss the potential tax hike.
County Attorney Gary Yarborough opened the meeting by stating that supervisors publicly advertised a 3.21 mil increase, but that number would be slightly decreased.
Yarborough said that supervisors had wanted to use .6 mils of the 3.21 mils to cover shortfalls in the county's solid waste collection and disposal budget.
After examining the budget in the past few weeks, supervisors decided that additional revenue for solid waste would not be needed, Yarborough said.
Yarborough said the millage increase was necessary because of increases in youth court costs; insurance and upkeep for county buildings; the county taking over the E911 system; and other items.
Several residents spoke at Friday's meeting with only a few opposing the proposed millage increase.
Local business owner Kevin Hill of Pearlington said he understood the need for an increase.
"I think you guys are doing a wonderful job," Hill said. "I don't have have a problem with it, if I can see where my money is going."
Lana Noonan of Waveland said her main concern with the county's budget was that supervisors plan to cut $26,000 a year from the Hancock County Library System.
District Five Supervisor Tony Wayne Ladner said supervisors have cut every department over the past few years to try to limit tax increases.
"We are looking every day to find ways to cut the budget without reducing services," he said. "We have worked diligently for all of the people in Hancock County."
District One Supervisor David Yarborough said supervisors did not want to raise millage, but he felt they have little choice.
"We have been cutting ever since Katrina," he said. "We have no choice. Everything is going up. I don't want to do it, but we have to."
Tax Assessor Collector Jimmie Ladner said supervisors have actually cut millage over the years to compensate for increases in value. In the past 12 years, millage rates have gone from 48 mils a year to 41.46 last year, Ladner said.
"Our respective boards have understood that when values go up, the rates should go down," he said.
Ladner said the 2.61 mil increase will cost taxpayers about $26 for every $100,000 of value for property.