By Robbie Ward
TUPELO – Lee County Tax Collector Leroy Belk informed the Board of Supervisors Monday about his intention to add more workspace and employees.
Belk told supervisors that recent and anticipated growth of the county make the case for his office to find a larger location and expand his staff, currently in the Lee County Courthouse.
The tax collector said his office collects taxes from 98.4 percent of real estate, mobile home and personal property in the county.
For the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, $94.7 million in taxes had been collected countywide. Belk said the county is still missing out on $166,000 in unpaid taxes from more than 100 businesses that no longer operate in the county.
“The only way I can improve from what we do is with more staff and a bigger location,” he said.
Belk spoke to the supervisors to present reports on delinquent taxes and bad checks but mentioned the need for another facility and more staff. The office has 13 employees. He plans to make a formal presentation to the supervisors in the next few meetings.
After the meeting, Belk said he has already informed the supervisors of a possible downtown location where his office could relocate.
Board president Bobby Smith said he knows of the tax collector office’s needs but wasn’t sure when funding would become available.
“Our needs are way ahead of our growth,” he said. “I can’t see anything happening this year because we already have a budget.”
Along with the tax collector’s office, Lee County supervisors know of needs to expand the Lee County Jail. In May, supervisors viewed a presentation for a new $19 million jail. The Lee County grand jury report documented needs for extra space at the jail and juvenile detention center.