Oktibbeha County supervisors on Monday are expected to approve an overall 111.88-mill governmental and school ad valorem tax rate, which is almost a mill increase from the current levy.
The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to meet at 9 a.m. at the county courthouse.
While overall governmental needs reflect a flat tax request compared to the current fiscal year, Oktibbeha County School District’s 55-mill school maintenance levy, up .91 mills from Fiscal Year 2013-2014 levels, will slightly increase the overall rate.
OCSD previously approved its increase this summer, and those funds will help renovate two of its campuses in preparation for 2015’s state-mandated consolidation with Starkville School District.
The county’s proposed budget will operate on projected revenues of $34.57 million, of which almost $20 million or about 58 percent will be financed through ad valorem taxes.
Compared to FY 2013-2014’s budget, the 28.65 mills levied for general county expenses remains flat, as previously forecast by County Administrator Emily Garrard. Many other levies that constitute the sum of Oktibbeha County’s tax rate – specifically those for East Mississippi Community College support and enlargement; the county volunteer fire department and bridge funds; and two OCH Regional Medical Center bonds – remain even with their previous pledges, while county road department (up .17 mills), another OCH fund (down .03 mills) and school notes (down .03 mills) were adjusted.
Reassessment brought the value of county 1 mill up from $307,380 to $319,481, while school district mills also gained in value, jumping from $62,723 to $64,639.
In terms of how much tax money the county will take in for the agencies and bonds that Oktibbeha County’s 15 specific millage levies help fund, all of the streams, save for the OCH stream that was reduced by .03 mills, represent an increase in funding with the reassessment factored in.
For example, EMCC’s enlargement fund remains the same across FY 2013-2014 and the proposed FY 2014-2015 budget, but that stream will actually bring in more money because of reassessment.
Oktibbeha County Fire Services’ 2.42-mill levy remains the same across FY 2013-2014 and the proposed FY 2014-2015 budget, but that stream will actually bring in about $7,543 more because of reassessment.
Additional funding is needed for the county’s road department as it is expected to add an additional crew and service crew to its maintenance system in the upcoming fiscal year.
The road department currently operates three crews within the county’s five districts, and those workers, Road Manager Victor Collins told supervisors in July, cannot keep up with all the work orders produced by the county’s continual growth.
To create the new crew, Collins is expected to reduce the existing groups’ personnel by one and before hiring two new employees.
The three districts are responsible for 550 paved and gravel roads within Oktibbeha County. Individually, each shop maintains about 180-185 miles of road. A four-crew system would reduce workloads for each group to about 141.5 miles, thereby solving inefficiencies created by traveling large maintenance territories.
Like the city, Oktibbeha County will not have to add an additional 2-mill levy to service Golden Triangle Development LINK-backed industrial park bonds. Those bonds should be issued next year, meaning taxes will adjust for 2015-2016.
The LINK is also the county’s biggest increase in expenses from its general fund for the upcoming budget, as the group will now receive $350,000 in the upcoming fiscal year. The county’s only other proposed general fund increase of $100,000 or more will go to the Oktibbeha County Sheriff’s Department.
Its budget will increase $164,396 compared to the current fiscal year.
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch