Itawamba County Times
MANTACHIE – Official discussions have begun for what Mantachie leaders agree is an inevitable property tax for the town.
During last week’s regular meeting, Alderman-at-Large Dan Moore Jr. raised the question of whether or not town residents should be paying property taxes. The money, he said, could be used to fund various projects the town needs but currently can’t afford.
“I don’t want any more taxes,” Moore said. “But our finances are on a shoestring budget every month. We’re going to have to seriously, at some point, start looking at some new revenue streams.”
Moore cited decaying infrastructure, town buildings in need of maintenance and aging vehicles as looming expenses the town currently can’t afford to pay. Moore also said the town’s fire department needs a new truck and several structures in the town’s park are in serious need of expensive repairs.
Currently, the town operates on sales tax revenue alone. While a property tax would provide a new source of revenue, it would also mean more money out of the pockets of its residents. Mantachie is one of an increasingly slim number of Mississippi towns that doesn’t have a property tax.
“Eventually, as the town grows, there will have to be a property tax,” said Mayor Jeff Butler. “I definitely think it’s inevitable. But I don’t know when that time will be.”
Butler said that while the town has had its fair share of tight times in recent years, sales tax revenue has been good this year. The addition of a Walmart Express, slated to open later this year, should help bolster sales tax revenue.
“We’re recovering,” the mayor said. “Our money we get back from the state is going up, and I feel like it’s only going to get better.”
When Butler opened the floor to opinions or comments, most board members remained quiet. However, Alderman Matt Fennell opposed the implementation of the property tax and questioned the timing of the suggestion, though he agreed that it would probably be something the board would have to seriously consider in the future.
“You always have to look at cutting services before doing this kind of thing,” Fennell said.
The rest of the board seemed to agree it was a suggestion to keep in mind.
“Personally, I don’t think it’s the best time,” Butler said. “I think we can hold off a little bit longer.”