Waveland Mayor: "We're going to pay our bill"

WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) - Waveland residents got a chance to let city leaders know how they feel about a proposed property-tax increase.  Officials say a millage rate increase in Waveland is essential if the city wants to have any chance of getting out of the red.  However the expected fireworks at the meeting never came.

Waveland residents came to the meeting expecting to be hit with a 14.155 increase in the city's milage rate but instead city leaders only proposed a 5.2 mil increase.  Which means a residents with a home valued at $75,000 will pay $43 more a year in property taxes.  A home with a $250,000 assessed value will pay about a $144 more per year.

Waveland Resident Don Saegers, asked city leaders, "The milage increase that your talking about is that going to be a permanent milage increase ?"

Waveland Mayor David Garcia responded by saying, "Under my administration I'm not going to just bank you money to bank your money. we're going to pay our bill and do what the state auditors office recommends.  Surplus built up, once we get to that point and we can lower utilities or taxes we will do it."

Garcia says the city hasn't had a tax increased in seven years, and even with this increase residents will still enjoy some of the lowest property taxes on the coast.

Waveland resident James Hamilton said he's willing to go along with a tax increase this time but doesn't want to see another one in the future.  "It's a lot for us to come up with that extra millage.  And after Katrina we've had the wind and hail insurance.  And now to pay this millage, like I say I'm with you this time but that's it."

Grant Tingstrom echoed his words.  "I don't want to pay higher taxes.  But like I said it's for the good of the community.  You didn't see people jumping up and down complaining about it so evidently the people are on board with it."

By law the city must adopt a budget by September 15th.  Waveland's plan is to vote on the budget a day earlier.  Mayor Garcia says this budget puts the city more than $520,000 in the black.

Residents had other questions at the Tuesday meeting concerning the city's budget, like when will furloughed employees be brought back. The mayor said not until January.

Waveland's latest budget also contains a utility rate increase.  Residents can expect to see their water, sewer, gas and garbage collection bills go up by five dollars.

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