WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) - Budget woes in Waveland will likely mean a property tax increase for residents. City leaders are considering raising the millage rate which would bring a ten-percent increase to property taxes and car tags.
"The last thing that any of us ever want to do, and the last thing that we ever look at doing is increasing taxes," said Waveland Mayor Tommy Longo.
Mayor blames Hurricane Katrina and the depressed economy for the city's budget woes.
"I had hoped that the population would return a little quicker," Longo explained. "Any time your population is down 35 percent, it affects your ad valorum taxes, it affects utilities, water, sewer, gas, waste disposal,"
The Mayor said if the proposed tax increase is adopted, Waveland would still have one of the lowest millage rates on the coast. And the city hasn't had a tax increase in nearly 15 years.
"If you're paying $300 now in taxes, then you'll pay about $330 in taxes, if this goes through. If you're paying $500 in taxes, you'll be paying about $550 in taxes."
But any tax hike is too much for the Waveland residents WLOX News spoke with Monday.
"So they pick the worst time, while everybody is struggling to get back on their feet, you know, to increase taxes," said Evelyn Lightfoot.
"Nobody can afford it these days anyway," Remy Sanders said. "Our mortgages keep going up because of our insurance and more taxes, and we're all unemployed. I'm unemployed. So we're going to start losing our houses more and more, then you're really going to be at the end of the line. The city will be."
Waveland residents will get a chance to let city leaders know just how they feel about the proposal during an upcoming public hearing on the issue. It's September 7 at 6pm at the Waveland Civic Center on Coleman Avenue.