Lauderdale County residents can expect to see an increase in their school taxes, but not in their ad valorem taxes for 2013. The Board was presented with the Lauderdale County Schools' budget and there is a $600,000 increase in the budget from this year, meaning that taxes must go up to meet the need.
Board President and District 4 Supervisor Joe Norwood says it is the job of the Board to provide the funds for the county schools. "We have to accept the school system budget. By law, the Board of Supervisors has to levy the taxes to collect the money for the school system. For example, the school system is asking us for $11 million this year. It is the responsibility of the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors to levy the tax to allow the school system to operate, and we have no say so on that. We have to accept that."
The millage rate is going up 3.23 mills, or to about $32 more dollars per year for a house valued at $100,000.
Norwood explains, "Well, they tell us the amount of money we need, and what we have to do by law is make sure we set the millage rate to collect that amount of money. So, I think 55 mills is the cap, and they're right at 54 right now, so that's just the way that works."
If the Board of Supervisors does not approve the budget, residents will still end up paying the requested amount.
"If we did not follow that, and there have been some cases in the state of Mississippi where Boards of Supervisors did not, all the school system can do is go out and borrow the money, and then you still have to go back and pay that money," says Norwood.
A public hearing will be held on Monday, September 10th at 5:30 in the boardroom of the County Annex Building to discuss both the county and school budgets. The budgets will most likely go for a vote before the Supervisors next Friday.