No millage increase for taxpayers

By BETH BUNCH,

In a hint to Forrest County’s budget for the upcoming year, Board of Supervisors President David Hogan said during Monday’s board meeting that county taxpayers would not see an increase in millage for the upcoming fiscal year.

“We will basically be at level funding for this next fiscal year,” Hogan said.

The proposed budget has a projected revenue of $48,623.948. According to the county’s chief financial officer Penny Steed, of that amount, 68 percent or $32,982,273 is proposed to be financed through ad valorem tax millage.

Cutting the fat where they could, Hogan said there would actually be a .18 decrease in the county’s millage rate. One mill is equal to $1 in property tax, which is levied per every $1,000 of a property's determined taxable value.

“That’s a nominal amount, but we did go through the budget books several times,” he said.

Working with the Forrest County School District, board attorney David Miller was able to help with the district’s solar panel litigation in a timely manner, so the school district was able to basically withdraw their shortfall request.

“This might have caused an increase in millage,” Hogan said.

“This board tried very hard to keep the costs down and make our budget fit into the current millage rate. We had to make some tough decisions and we’re going to have to tighten our belts and run pretty lean this next fiscal year, but it was very important to this board not to see an increase in millage rates for the taxpayers of Forrest County.”

A public hearing to discuss the budget will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 3, in the board meeting room.

In other business, the board heard from Forrest County Veterans Service Officer Brad Scott in regard to his office’s workload. He noted that the caseload his office handles has tripled with the staff assisting veterans from across the Pine Belt and not just those in Forrest County. “I never turn a vet away,” Scott said. “But out case load has gotten behind.”

Scott said in order to catch up, his office would like to schedule appointments in order for veterans to be seen.