Pontotoc Aldermen approve payment plan for taxes

By David Helms/Pontotoc Progress

Pontotoc Aldermen unanimously approved a motion last week to allow for the acceptance of partial payments for ad valorem taxes.

Previously, the city would not accept partial payments on yearly taxes, which are still due prior to February 1, or applicable penalties and interest will still apply.

Last week’s adopted motion, which was made by Alderman-at-Large Herman Austin, allows city residents to pay ad valorem taxes in three prescribed payments, thus reducing the amount of interest paid on taxes paid late.

The approved motion reads: “As allowed under Mississippi Code 27-41-1, said partial payments shall be made as follows:

-one half of all ad valorem taxes due shall be paid on or before February 1;

-one fourth of all ad valorem taxes, interest and penalty due shall be paid on or before May 1;

-one fourth of all ad valorem taxes, interest, and penalty due shall be paid on or before July 1;

All procedures for collections of such taxes shall adhere to Mississippi Code 27-41-1.”

“Not everyone can come up with the full tax amount due by the January 31 deadline,” Austin told other board members.

“This is thinking outside the box, from the way we’ve done it in the past, but it gives folks an option of making three payments if needed,” Austin said.

Pontotoc City Clerk Dexter Warren said city residents need to remember that all penalties and interest will still apply to unpaid tax portions.

“And to qualify for the three payments plan they must adhere to the amounts and deadline dates outlined in the state code,” Warren said.

In other new business, the board voted unanimously to set a public hearing on November 6 at 6 p.m to discuss the possible development of a park and playground in the eastern sector of the city.

The board set the hearing after hearing from Pontotoc resident Jeffrey Hall, who told the board a park is needed for kids in the D.T. Cox Elementary School area.

“That area of town has got 90 to 120 school age kids and they need a good quality, safe place to play,” Hall told the board.

“We’d rather see them playing ball than standing on the street corner,” Hall said.

Hall told the board that he’s had some discussions with Pontotoc County’s Habitat for Humanity organization about developing a park on some property that Habitat owns in that area.

Hall said that Habitat for Humanity has designated certain areas in the development of Circle of Hope Subdivision for green space and parks for the area children.

Hall provided the board with a letter from Barbara Carter, Habitat Executive Director, which indicated that Habitat would be willing to lease or maybe deed the park space to the city for development as a playground area.

“There’s lots of details, such as park size, parking and costs, which will obviously have to be discussed,” Mayor Jeff Stafford told Hall.

“Get the Habitat folks here on November 6 and we’ll be glad to talk about the land, begin talking about the possibility of a park in more detail,” Stafford said.

Hall thanked the city leaders for the opportunity to pursue the park further.

“We appreciate the city’s interest, because that’s a good community out there and lots of really good kids,” Hall said.

“We need to get that ‘rough edge’ taste out of our mouth and catch these kids while they’re young and give them something to do and a place to play.”

In other business, aldermen voted 5-0 in favor of accepting a low bid of $212,075 from Eubanks Construction Company to complete sewer line and manhole repairs in the Green Valley Subdivision.

Aldermen rejected a bid on that project from Paul Smithey.

“He omitted some paving work in his bid, so it was incomplete,” Mayor Stafford said.

The city has secured $278,000 in emergency loan funds from the Department of Environmental Quality to complete the initial phase of major repairs needed in that area.

Stafford said they were notified last week that the city did not get approved for a $287,700 Community Development Block Grant which would have funded more sewer repairs.

Stafford said the city would re-apply for funding for the project.

Aldermen voted 4-1 to approve the final resolution extending the city’s two percent tourism tax for another five years.

The two percent tourism tax applies to restaurants and motels.

Alderman Austin voted against extending the tax.

The board unanimously approved a motion to pay a $34,200 invoice from Engineering Solutions Incorporated for engineering services related to a water tank project which is planned for the former Primrose Water System.

After hearing a presentation from insurance agent Bryan Warren, the board voted 5-0 to accept Guardian Insurance as the city’s provider for employee vision and dental insurance. The proposal included an eight percent rate cap.

Aldermen also approved (5-0) the purchase ($4,000) of a new heating and air-conditioning unit for Pontotoc Fire Station #1.

Hearings were also set for 6 p.m. on November 6 for considering adjudicating four properties which are in need of clean-up.

Those properties include:

-Elizabeth Flores property, 190 Sloan Street; Ron Solberg (Sonic) property, 260 West Oxford Street; Stacy Simmons property, 130 West Oxford Street; Vickie Robbins property, 318 Springhill Drive.

Aldermen will also consider a conditional use request for Mark and Amanda Orman for a manufactured home, to be located at 110 East Tenth Street.