October 5, 2010 10:07:00 AM
The Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors Monday took the first steps toward revising the county''s tax collection methods, which would allow residents to pay ad valorem taxes in installments instead of one full payment.
Residents normally would have to pay all of their ad valorem taxes by Feb. 1 or face penalties, Board of Supervisors President Marvell Howard said.
With the new policy, which the board approved 4-1, with only District 2 Supervisor Orlando Trainer voting in opposition, residents only will be required to pay 50 percent of their ad valorem taxes on or before Feb. 1, another 25 percent on or before May 1 and the remaining 25 percent on or before Aug. 1.
If any unpaid balance exists on Aug. 1, then the lands are to be sold at the county land sale on the last Monday in August.
Howard, who represents District 3, said the partial payment plan will help residents who are struggling to pay their taxes.
"We''ve had to increase taxes on citizens, so what we''re trying to do is give them some relief," Howard said.
The city of Starkville and Oktibbeha County will have to amend an existing contract between the two parties, which allows the county Tax Assessor''s Office to collect city residents'' taxes, because the contract forbids partial payments.
County Tax Assessor Pat Kight said she is confident the partial payment system will work, but Trainer argued the county will have to "guess" on tax revenues as budget season approaches each year because residents won''t pay all of their taxes by Feb. 1, as in previous years.
"We might have to get a loan while we''re anticipating taxes because the money isn''t going to be there," Trainer said.
He urged the board to hold off on passing the partial payment policy until it could study the matter further, but District 5 Supervisor John Young made a motion to approve the policy and it passed 4-1.
As a result of another vote by supervisors Monday, residents of Maben and Sturgis now will pay their taxes at the county Tax Assessor''s Office in Starkville. The board voted unanimously in favor of a motion to collect taxes for residents of Maben and Sturgis instead of requiring residents to pay tax at offices in their respective cities. Residents there already pay county taxes in Starkville.
"Now they''ll be able to pay them all in one place," Kight said.
County Attorney Jackson Brown was instructed to draw up a contract with Maben and Sturgis to allow the county to collect their taxes, and to allow for partial tax payments.
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