Assessments expected to alleviate need to hike county taxes

Published 11:30 am Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tax assessments from public utilities and railroad property are up nearly 6 percent, which might head off a tax increase for Warren County, county officials learned Monday.

Values on power lines, phone lines, natural gas pipelines, railroad track and various other utilities totaled $99.8 million for 2012, up from $94.2 million last year.

Coupled with cuts tied to leaving vacant jobs open next year, revenues now outpace spending by $10,803 in a revised version of the 2012-13 budget before supervisors. Spending is expected to hit $14.8 million, nearly equal to the level for the current fiscal year.

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A budget is expected to be adopted formally following a public hearing at 9 a.m. next Tuesday. By law, the county must adopt a budget by Sept. 15. The new fiscal year starts Oct. 1.

Assessments on property owned by Entergy jumped by $5.9 million this year, to $67.7 million, the largest increase on a list of 18 utilities assessed by the state Department of Revenue.

Last week, the county OK’d reclassifying about 480 acres of land off Warrenton Road as agricultural instead of commercial property. New values on the land owned by Mississippi Bluffs Development LLC totaled $82,040, down from the $3.3 million at which they were valued last year. The acreage once was eyed for a casino and a golf course, neither of which was developed.

The lone property tax millage hike on the draft is in the school board column. Millages levied to support the Vicksburg Warren School District would increase by 1.21 mills.

Vicksburg officials expect to hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. Thursday to discuss the city’s proposed $28.8 million budget.