Thursday, March 9, 2006

Taxes rolling in fast

Staff Writer

Marshall County tax collector Betty Byrd reported Monday that tax collections for 2005 that started coming in in December are ahead of what was collected last year this time by half a million dollars.

December collections were about $1.5 million, January collections were the highest at $6.5 million and February collections were about $3.5 million bringing the total so far to about $11.5 million, Byrd said.

Since the millage rate did not go up Byrd said the unusually high collection could be due to people paying their real and personal property taxes off earlier and due to more vehicle tag sales.

December through the end of February are big collection months and then it drops off until July and August when people must pay up or have their taxes go on the land sale, she said.

Last year’s tax revenues for the county came to about $18 million, Byrd said.

In other county government news, the board of supervisors heard reports from departments at the first Monday meeting.

IDA news

The board approved renewal of freeport warehouse exemptions for all warehousing industries that made applications following a recommendation from Bill Renick, director of Marshall County Industrial Development Authority.

Renick said nearly all buildings are in use except the Gem building and Lighthouse Plastics facility, the only building suitable for manufacturing.

A new industry is expected to break ground off Mississippi Highway 178 east of Byhalia soon, Renick said. The company will move its manufacturing operations from Memphis to Byhalia. Renick said the location was selected because of its accessibility to the railroad. Several other companies are looking at property in the area and another company is looking at 82 acres the county owns in Holly Springs, he said.

Companies are very competitively shopping locations and asking for incentives, Renick said.

He noted that the companies the county is courting are old, nationally recognized ones.

“They are the kinds you want to do business with,” he said.

Renick said residential building is what the county needs “to grow the taxes down.”

Warehousing and manufacturing industries don’t pay much tax until they have been in the county ten years, he said, other than tax for fire and police protection and schools.

Sheriff’s News

Randy Harper, with the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department, met with the board to discuss purchases of portable radios and accessories. The 32 radios and accessories will be paid for with Homeland Security funds, he said.

County board attorney Tacey Clark Clayton asked supervisors to table the request until she determines whether the radios and equipment must be put out for bid.

In other business, the board:

  • approved replacement of corner markers that were disturbed by road construction crews on Catfish Drive, Holland Road, and Strickland Road.
  • received three right-of-way descriptions from property owners on Odell Road.
  • heard an update from legislative lobbiest Gary Anderson.
    • He said the tobacco tax increase and grocery tax roll back is one issue dominating politics this year and having a spill over effect on the state bond bill.
    • The county’s request for funding of an Alcohol and Drug recovery center may not be taken up in the regular bond bill session. If not there is likely to be a special session for bonds after the regular session, Anderson said.
    • Twenty million dollars in funds to upgrade industrial parks throughout the state is getting favorable nods from legislators, Anderson said. If HB 1526 passes, the county will be able to apply for funds for Marshall County, he said.
  • received monthly homestead exemption applications from Ronnie Johnson, tax assessor.
  • learned that the Appalachian Regional Council was fully funded this year. Strawberry Plains Audubon Center has applied for $50,000 from ARC to build an entrance to the property on Highway 311.

The board of supervisors will meet again at 9 a.m. January 13 in the boardroom at 103B Market Street, Holly Springs. The public is invited to attend all meetings.

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