Thursday, July 12, 2006
Railroad access key to industries
By SUE WATSON
With queries coming in from prospects looking for good locations, railroad access is fast becoming the key to industrial expansion in Marshall County, according to Bill Renick, executive director of the Industrial Development Authority.
Three sites with either existing or potential access to rail are being scrutinized by companies. A combination of rail access and highway access is a winning combination.
“Rail sites are at a premium right now,” Renick told the Marshall County Board of Supervisors last week.
The county is in the running for another big project, Renick said, one of three sites in two states.
“I think we’re in the number one slot,” he said, without divulging further details.
In other IDA business, the authority is looking to put together an education proposal.
“We have some things to discuss at the IDA board and then we will want to talk with supervisors about education,” he said.
Other reports at the July 3 meeting of the board of supervisors included:
Chancery Clerk’s Report
County claims for last month came to $541,408, according to Chuck Thomas, chancery clerk. Of that, $226,006 were bills paid out of the general fund. Road and Bridge expenditures came to $260,908.
Thomas said with one quarter left, only 72 percent of the authorized budget has been spent at 75 percent the way through the budget year. Some budget accounts are running low, however, particularly the road and bridge fund and the sheriff’s fund, due to high fuel costs this year following last year’s hurricane that cut short production of gas and oil in fields in the Gulf of Mexico.
County Engineer’s Report
Engineer Larry Britt requested a supplemental agreement signed to cover unanticipated paving needs on the Holly Springs Highway 4 bypass. The supplemental agreement allows for a better price for asphalt to pave the tie-in ramps at North Holly Springs Exit. He requested a change order for an additional $49,868 for asphalt, test piles and changing pilings used for the project, commonly referred to as the APL Project. Money is in the contingency fund to cover the change order, he said.
Supervisors approved both requests.
APL Bypass Road is expected to be ready for paving by the end of the year. No funds have been appropriated by the state for paving yet, Britt said.
Britt recommended and the board authorized a Seldon Estates subdivision plat on condition that the approval not be filed until a letter of credit is on record at the Chancery Clerk’s office. The subdivision is located off Taska Road.
The board approved a permit for boring under Coldwater Bend Road at Coldwater Hill Subdivision to run new phone cable.
The contractor has begun work on the Hernando Road project, Britt said.
Tax Assessor’s Report
Tax revenues for year 2006 are expected to increase by about 3 percent, according to Ronnie Johnson, tax assessor. The total new true value of real and personal property picked up in 2006 is about $70,591,000, he said. The new properties include vehicles, mobile homes, new homes, new businesses and new warehousing and industry.
The assessed valuation is up about $10 million this year with about $4.4 million of that falling in the tax exempt category. Last year, there was $6.18 million in exemptions but this year the figure is up to $10 million due primarily to a large warehousing operation being built, Johnson said.
The overall assessed valuation in 2005 of real and personal properties in the county was about $173.77 million and the figure this year is up to about $183.4 million - or $10 million.
Agricultural land use values were down this year due to the change in the assessed valuation for trees. The county will lose over $300,000 in assessed value on farm land, Johnson said. The assessed value of uncultivatable land decreased from $7.95 million in 2005 to about $7.67 million this year.
A $3 million dip in the true value of low-income apartments brought a loss of about $450,000 in assessed value in that category.
The loss in assessed valuation in agricultural properties and low-income apartments taken together comes to about $750,000, Johnson said.
With the tax exemptions given to owners of apartment complexes, approximately $37,000 in tax revenue will not be collected this year and another $35,000 in city and county school taxes from the low-income housing development in the county will not be levied.
“It’s hard when you keep giving exemptions, you don’t have a big increase in revenues,” he told supervisors.
He noted that although big warehousing and industry is coming to Marshall County, 10-year tax exemptions given to manufacturing and warehousing, mean that tax coffers will not be increasing soon with the recent growth boom in those sectors of the economy.
“All in all, the bottom line is, we’re not having too good a year, even though assessed value is up,” Johnson said. “It is good for the schools, but not for the overall county.”
Warehousing and manufacturing sectors are not exempt from paying ad valorem tax levied for the school districts.
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