Coahoma County taxpayers may see a two mill tax increase and the big word at this point in the process is “may.”
County supervisors presented their budget Tuesday with a proposed two mill increase, but the closing of Coahoma Early College High School could see that 3.90 mill levy go away this year.
The county is seeking counsel from the Mississippi Department of Revenue on how that might work and what the county could do with the money levied by that tax.
County Board Attorney Tom Ross said he had no answer as of Tuesday.
“You could do away with it but, if there are any unpaid bills at the school this year, you could be liable for that money,” said Ross. “And since the money is levied for the school it can only legally be spent on the school.”
The county has proposed a budget of $29,209,743.92 and 30-percent or $8,762,923.17 would be raised by ad valorem or property taxes.
Last year’s budget stands at $28,865,743.63.
If the county does approve the tax increase that means taxpayers will pay more taxes on their homes, automobile tag, utilities, business fixtures, equipment and rental property.
Supervisors said the proposed two mill increase in this budget is needed to pay for the Coahoma County Justice Center that opened earlier this year, at $1.4 million over its anticipated construction cost.
Supervisors also once again talked about ways to collect over $2 million in unpaid Justice Court fine and unpaid property taxes.
The county has repeatedly discussed ways to make those who owe taxes and fines pay their bill, but has taken no hard action.
The state allows counties and municipalities to garnish state income tax rebates, but the Mississippi Legislature has discussed doing away with the state income tax.
Supervisors talked with Justice Court Clerk Darlene Lake about ways to garnish federal income tax rebates which is much more lucrative.
Lake said some of her fines go back to 1984 and the state does not allow them to be taken off the books. Lake said the death of the person is the only way the fine can be disposed of without payment.
Lake also said her judges are working to collect at least 35-percent of the fines they impose.