By JB Clark/NEMS Daily Journal
Saltillo – Residents questioning the Saltillo Transportation Enhancement Program can get answers in a public meeting at the end of the month.
The board of Aldermen voted Tuesday to set a 6 p.m. July 24 meeting where residents can go over roadwork questions with an engineer and go over the tax rolls to estimate their tax increases.
The meeting is in advance of the Aug. 14 vote in which Saltillo residents will decide if they want to implement an 8-mil tax to be used for the STEP program.
Board members said Tuesday residents are concerned about the tax increase.
“They’re confused as to what part of their taxes are going up,” said Alderman Scott Knight. “People are thinking their county, school and municipal taxes are going to be affected but that’s not the case. I would hate for this program to fail on misinformation.”
The 8-mil tax increase will increase most residents’ municipal taxes by almost 30 percent. The increase does not include school and county taxes.
Slated for the improvements are the Mobile Street and Cartwright Avenue intersection, Old Highway 45 next to McDonald’s and Highway 145 from Mobile Street to Pannel Drive.
The tax, which could bring in approximately $1 million over five years, is set to expire after five years and must go through the same referendum process to be collected for five more years.
In one project, Old Highway 45 will be expanded to five lanes from Highway 145 by McDonald’s. Randy Hathcock of Engineering Solutions Incorporated estimated the expansion to five lanes will cost $495,988.55.
In another project, a turning lane will be added to Mobile Street at the intersection of Cartwright Avenue. Hathcock estimates that will cost $142,391.
The board voted to concentrate on the Highway 145 expansion last so the Mississippi Department of Transportation can first complete a traffic study. Hathcock said the project will come in at just under $2 million.