County takes out loan until taxes arrive

Published 12:00 pm Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A third government loan in three years is expected to keep Warren County’s general and infrastructure-related funds afloat until spring when property tax payments arrive.

The so-called tax anticipation note worth $3.5 million acts as a cash advance to ensure revenue matches levels predicted in this year’s budget. Besides the general fund, the loan will shore up the road and bridge fund and must be paid back by April 1, County Administrator John Smith said.

State law allows counties to borrow up to 25 percent of estimated taxes on real property in a given year. Loans to the county the past two years met bond payment deadlines on emergency dispatch equipment and past improvements at the Port of Vicksburg, each totaling about $1.5 million, Smith said. Ending cash balances for the entire budget reached $2.596 million when fiscal 2010 ended, short of a $5.5 million target to avoid another short-term loan, Smith said. A public hearing date to take comments on the move is expected.

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Supervisors adopted a $14.8 general fund budget for 2010-11, which planned for balanced spending and revenue in county government despite strong expectations of less revenue from the state on items like homestead exemption reimbursements. Projections for the road fund, out of which salaries, supplies and equipment for the Road Department are paid, were set with a $258,137 net gain.

No property tax rate increases were passed by Vicksburg and Warren County governing boards for the fiscal year that started Oct. 1.

Supervisors accepted for information a resolution Monday from the Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce thanking them for not raising the millage rates.