Government Down to Wire on Millage Rate

By: Tametria Conner Email
By: Tametria Conner Email

The city of Meridian is facing a deadline of Tuesday to get its property tax rate set. It hasn't been done yet, because of a delay beyond the city's control. But being late could mean big problems.

The millage rate is the percentage of the value of your property that you have to pay in taxes.

The immediate effect is if the tax rate is not set by Tuesday, residents who may need a car tag Oct. 1 may have to wait.

That's all according to tax collector Stanley Shannon, county administrator Mike Sumrall and the city's financial adviser Ed Skipper. They all say the process has never cut this close to the deadline.

Sumrall says the county underwent a complete reappraisal of property this year and the tax assessor needed a 30-day extension, delaying every step in the process.

But Sumrall says next year, he's pushing for no extensions on assessing property so this won't happen again.

At this point, the city and county do not have a current millage to put on the October car tag statements. Even worse, Sumrall says if the rate is not set, the board of supervisors may have its salaries taken away, which could mean a collapse of county government.

"We can't set the millage, and in fact, no government can set the millage until we have those accessed values and that's what we've all been waiting for," said Skipper.

And Lauderdale County is not the only county that's pushing it to the deadline line. For example, Sumrall says Jefferson County has not set its millage rate either.

The board of supervisors and the city council will meet Tuesday, and most members say they are confident the millage rate will be set then, just in time for the beginning of fiscal year 2009.

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