Jackson County

Ocean Springs leaders raise property taxes for first time in 8 years

The Ocean Springs Board of Aldermen voted 6-1 to raise property taxes, for the first time in eight years, Thursday night.
The Ocean Springs Board of Aldermen voted 6-1 to raise property taxes, for the first time in eight years, Thursday night. klnelson@sunherald.com

Republican Mayor Shea Dobson confirmed Friday morning that the Board of Aldermen voted 6-1 to raise property taxes in the City of Ocean Springs, something the previous aldermen held out against for two full terms.

The mayor doesn’t vote unless there’s a tie.

Dobson called it “reinstating 2 mills of tax” and adding and additional mill.

The total increase will be 3 mills. Only Alderman Mike Impey voted against the tax increase.

Dobson used the term reinstate, because in 2009, aldermen cut city property taxes by 2 mills when the school district added 9 mills to homeowner’s tax bills to help pay for the new high school. The extra mill, this time, is for debt service, which means it will allow the city to borrow money for projects.

For eight years, aldermen held the line on taxes, despite complaints about failing infrastructure, lack of employee cost of living raises and urging from previous Mayor Connie Moran for money for projects.

The vote came in a special called meeting Thursday night.

The tax hike is expected to cost the homeowner with a $100,000 home, about $30 a year and one in a $500,000 home about $150 per year. You can calculate it at about $10 per mill for each $100,000 in home value.

The Ocean Springs School Board did not ask for an increase this year.

The 3 mills in city tax will generate $546,000 for the city coffers.

The city clerk said the city lacks new revenue sources, but its sales tax revenue has been on target and going up, generating $4.9 million this year.

With the new property tax money, the city plans to pay for the roofing of four city buildings, buying body and car camera systems for the police department, new hardware and software for the city accounting and finance department, two new police cars and asphalt for street repairs.

Gautier also raised property taxes this year by 3.3 mills, which translates to about $30 on a $100,000 home in that city.

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