City of Picayune tightens tax belt

Published 7:00 am Thursday, September 1, 2016

Tuesday, Picayune City Council members made a tough decision to reduce their tax levy in response to an increase in property value assessments.

It had to have been difficult to cast that vote. 

On one hand, these leaders could have opted to leave their tax levy at last year’s level, easily bringing in an additional $180,000 in funding, which could have been used any number of ways. On the other hand, they possibly considered those who pay property taxes and how such a move would affect them. 

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One vocal opponent to lowering the tax levy had an idea of how to use the additional funding, pay raises for city employees. 

City employees do deserve a raise, every one of them. 

But at the same time many of the people who work for the city of Picayune own property in the municipality. 

During Tuesday’s meeting there was contention that the extra funding could be used to provide additional services, such as faster response times to repairs and emergency calls. 

Government agencies have the difficult task of not only collecting taxes from the community, but most of all putting those funds to the best possible use. 

If one agency is funded better than another, there has to be a good reason behind it.

But, do all of those funds have to come from just property owners? Should not every citizen kick in their fair share?

To a degree they do; each time they buy a product at a store or eat at a restaurant within a municipality they pay a sales tax, a portion of which is shared with cities. 

Sales tax collections within Picayune are on the rise, according to the city clerk. That’s good news, but it could be better.

The only community member to express an opinion on the matter had a great idea, build up the city’s efforts for economic development. 

By doing so, we not only generate more funding to provide city employees with a raise, increase services and see our town thrive, but we avoid putting all of that burden on property owners.