Flaggs: Vicksburg can absorb tax loss from Baxter Wilson closing

Published 12:10 pm Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said the city will be able to absorb a more than $700,000 loss in tax revenue from the closing of Entergy’s Baxter Wilson power plant on Kemp Bottom Road.

Entergy officials announced last week that Unit 1 — the only generating unit operating at the plant — will be deactivated on May 31, 2022. The city is expected to lose $760,990 in property tax revenue from the closure. The city lost $1.4 million in property tax revenue when Entergy closed the plant’s Unit 2 in 2019. The plant’s deactivation comes as Entergy announced a decision to shut down some of its aging natural gas power generating plants over the next five years and expand its use of renewable energy sources, such as solar power.

Flaggs said Entergy told him two months ago that the plant would be shutting down.

“We took our greatest hit in 2019,” he said. “So between revenue growth and some other things, I think we can absorb that; we’ve just got to keep moving. I’m working with them (Entergy) continuously and Baxter Wilson has been a very good corporate partner to this community. I’m just glad they gave us enough notice to adjust.”

When Entergy closed Baxter Wilson’s Unit 2 in 2019, city and county officials did not learn about it until mid-August while budget preparations were underway. The announcement forced officials to make last-minute changes in the county and city budgets to adjust for the loss of revenue.

“We’re good (financially),” Flaggs said. “And we want to continue to work with them for future opportunities. I think with how we’re doing our debt over a period of time — refinancing our debt and the way we’re structuring our revenue now and how our revenues are coming in, I think we’re going to be able to absorb it.

He said the impact of the property tax loss is three years away, adding Entergy will pay property taxes on Baxter Wilson through 2023.

“So it will affect us in 2024,” he said. “I have anticipated it and I’ve alerted (city accounting director) Doug (Whittington) and I think we’re on the same page. We’ll be OK.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

email author More by John