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County millage value expected to improve slightly


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PDF file File: Oktibbeha County Fiscal Budget 2013-2014

Carl Smith



The amount of money one single ad valorem tax mill brings into Oktibbeha County is projected to increase slightly for the upcoming fiscal year, but the additional value isn't expected to significantly impact tax rates or county coffers. 


Improving the county's tax leveraging power is a long-term goal for supervisors - the more money a single mill brings into the county's coffers theoretically means administrators can fund more services for lower tax rates. In fiscal year 2014-2015, which starts Sept. 1, a single tax mill is predicted to bring in $319,481 for the county, an increase of about $12,000 compared to its current rate, Oktibbeha County Administrator Emily Garrard said Friday. 


Property taxes are calculated with mills. One mill is worth one-thousandth of a dollar. For example, if the millage rate is 20 mills, you would pay $20 for every $1,000 of assessed value on your property. The assessed value of a property is the appraised value multiplied by the assessment ratio (10% for residential properties). A property appraised for $100,000 in this example would pay $200 in taxes. Municipalities, counties and school districts each establish their own millage rates to meet budgetary needs. 


Garrard said the small amount of additional funds will help keep taxes relatively flat, but supervisors have already committed about half a mill for funding a new East Mississippi Community College workforce development center in Lowndes County and could service $5 million in economic development bonds if the board approves them next month. 


Oktibbeha County could also switch to a proposed four-district maintenance system in the upcoming fiscal year, a move that would require the purchase of used equipment, two additional hires and a possible foreman promotion. 


Additionally, District 2 Supervisor Orlando Trainer has stumped for a comprehensive road-paving project through general obligation bonds, but the issue is not expected to gain traction in the coming fiscal year. 


Supervisors and administrators have not yet released the possible funding commitments required for the maintenance system, but the economic development bonds could require 1 or 2 mills of additional revenues. 


Starkville aldermen will also address their own portion of the combined $10 million in bonds next month that would fund land purchases and infrastructure improvements for a new industrial park near the Miss. Highway 182 and Miss. Highway 25 bypass. 


Comparatively, Oktibbeha County's overall budget, which includes its general and other funds, increased 5.45 percent, or $1.53 million, from FY 2012-2013 to FY 2013-2014, even while administrators continued to keep costs low after the national economic downturn in 2008. 


As approved last year, supervisors levied an overall 110.97-mill tax that was expected to take in about $19 million for county and Oktibbeha County School District operations; pledges to OCH Regional Medical Center bond payments and operations; and other services, including fire support and road maintenance.  


Of the total county tax rate, 54.06 mills were levied for OCSD operations, while proceeds from an additional 5.95 mills serviced school notes and provided funding to East Mississippi Community College and Starkville School District's Millsaps Career and Technology Center. The county itself needed 28.65, or $8.53 million, for general operations, while its road and bridge funds constituted 12.05 mills of the total levy. About five mills were levied for OCH-related bond payments and commitments.  


The proposed FY 2013-2014 budget approved by supervisors last year kept the county-wide assessment at the previous year's 110.97-mill level despite school-related millage increasing by almost an entire mill. The millage rate for county governance decreased by the same .99-mill margin between the two fiscal years. 


Supervisors are expected to approve the county's upcoming budget on or before Sept. 15. 


Comparatively, one mill brings in about $500,000 in Lowndes County.


Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch



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