The Alcorn County Board of Supervisors on Wednesday approved the 2017 fiscal year budget with an increase in the property tax levy of 5.21 mills.
That is an additional $52.10 in property taxes on a $100,000 home with regular homestead exemption.
The board put a great deal of thought into the budget, said Chancery Clerk Greg Younger. Officials have been “open and honest” about the county’s financial difficulties, he said.
The board does not take a tax increase lightly, but it is the “only way we can continue the level of services people expect.”
The county has dealt with financial struggles related to the Alcorn County Regional Correctional Facility.
Revenue from housing state prisoners has not covered the cost of the facility, Younger said. The facility was hit with a reduction in prisoners and a deficit of $1.1 million, he added.
The bonds for the regional correctional facility are now being restructured to help the situation.
One part of the restructuring is general obligation bonds to pay for the part of the facility devoted to county offices. Those bonds will be paid back with a levy of 3.5 mills, which is the bulk of the tax increase, Younger said.
The other part of the bond restructure is for the state portion of the facility, which will continue to be paid for with revenue from the Mississippi Department of Corrections, Younger added.
The sheriff recently received word that he would get 30 more inmates from the state and possibly 30 more, Younger said. Additional inmates will hopefully eliminate the deficit.
The budget also includes funding for two more sheriff’s office deputies. Most budget line items stayed the same in the new budget compared to the current budget, Younger said.
The millage was also increased last year, but before that had been the same for five years, Younger noted.