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Warren County Board of Supervisors exclude roads and bridges from industrial ad valorem tax exemptions

The Warren County Board of Supervisors granted four ad valorem tax exemptions to industrial businesses during its Monday regular meeting — with a change in procedure from previous years.

Businesses granted industrial ad valorem tax exemptions will not be exempt from paying the county’s roads and bridges tax. While the policy is a new one for Warren County, board president Dr. Jeff Holland pointed out during a recent work session that many counties along the Mississippi Gulf Coast do this to offset costs of road repairs and maintenance.

“Given the mess our roads are in, it makes sense,” Holland said. “There is a set assessment that is roads — 6.88 (mills) or something like that. I would definitely keep that one and not give that one away.”

Those businesses granted ad valorem tax exemptions — excluding the road and bridges tax — are Vicksburg Forest Products, International Paper Company, Tyson Farms, Inc. and Ergon Refining, Inc. The exemptions will be in effect for five years.

District 1 Supervisor Edward Herring echoed Holland’s statements in a recent work session.

“Every one of these (businesses) are the biggest users of heavyweight trucks on our roads,” Herring said.

District 3 Supervisor Shawn Jackson said her goal is for Warren County to view the roads and bridges tax rate the same way school tax rates are viewed. Currently, the Vicksburg-Warren County School District tax rate is 55 mills, with an additional 13.19 mills for school debt — and it is not included in ad valorem tax exemptions for the majority of eligible businesses.

“We want to put roads on par with the school carve-out,” Jackson said. “I would be behind it as a standing policy for almost all abatements in the county.”