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Tax increase sought

In the upcoming election to take place Tuesday there will be a referendum to ask for community support for a one percent tax increase to help offset the increase in population and the expenses that come along with it.

If the registered voters do vote yes on the referendum it will not mean there will be a tax increase said County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin. The Pearl River County Board of Supervisors will still need to bring the proposition to the legislature in Jackson. However if the referendum shows that there is community support it will help in the board’s effort.

“It’s a way to show the legislature there is support for it,” Lumpkin said.

Currently the state only allows the board the option to raise ad valorem taxes on property, but when a new property is built it normally takes two years before it is taxed, Lumpkin said.

To get the same amount of funds, about $5 million, from the one percent sales tax it would take an increase of 20 mills in ad valorem, Lumpkin said. If the referendum is approved by the voters and the legislature approves it then new residents will be able to contribute immediately to county services they are currently getting, instead of waiting for their property to be added to the tax roll, Lumpkin said. Essentially this tax increase would help the county raise needed funds for law enforcement, fire departments, roads and bridges and economic development instead of the county being in the hole for the next two years, Lumpkin said.

Currently the county receives no funds from sales tax.