Corinth sets vote on special projects tax

By Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal

CORINTH – City officials are preparing to test residents’ willingness to assess a focused tax for special road and infrastructure projects.
In a special meeting Tuesday, the city board approved a resolution to have a special election Aug. 21, asking voters to approve an additional ad valorem tax of 12 mills per year for a period of five years.
The anticipated $1 million per year raised through the additional tax would be placed in a separate, dedicated fund for capital improvements and infrastructure work.
The proposed tax is similar to the one that finances the Major Thoroughfare Program that Tupelo implemented more than 20 years ago. A key difference, however, is that a Tupelo citizens committee recommends and the City Council adopts a list of specific projects to submit to the voters every five years. Corinth has not listed specific projects to be funded with the tax.
Using Tupelo’s strategy, Saltillo is set to put a similar program before its voters later this summer.
If Corinth approves the additional tax, it would be levied for the tax years beginning Oct. 1, 2012 through Oct. 1, 2016.
A homeowner with a homestead property valued at $100,000 would see an increase of $120 per year for 12 mills. A business or other property valued at $100,000 would be taxed at the 15 percent rate, or an increase of $180 per year.
“The question for voters is ‘What kind of Corinth do you want?'” said Mayor Tommy Irwin. “The budget in good years and bad years is not enough to meet annual needs. If approved, this millage would stay in place five years and then citizens would vote again. I don’t want to force things down people’s throats. The people will decide and we’ll accept that.”