Property tax hike In store for Waveland residents

Property tax hike In store for Waveland residents

WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) - Waveland residents will soon see a property tax increase, all thanks to the 2015 - 2016 fiscal budget city leaders just passed.

The total general fund budget is nearly $5.5 million. Waveland bounced back from the brink of bankruptcy in 2011, and city leaders say the new budget ensures that it won't happen again.

"The city had about $2.5 million available for that building so we had to go secure a bond in case we needed it," said Waveland Mayor Mike Smith.

Though he city's police and court departments will soon have a permanent place to call home, it comes with a price. The bond is part of why city leaders say a tax increase is needed in Waveland; to cover new and existing debts.

Smith added, "I would say it was a small increase and we haven't had a mileage increase since 2011."

The $5.5 million increase means a homeowner with a house valued at $100,000 will have to pay around $50 more per year more in property taxes.

"I think taxes are too high they need to start going down," said Waveland Resident Eddie Key.

Leaders say with the loss of sales tax revenues from major chains like K-Mart and 84 lumber in recent years, the value of $1 million in the city has decreased, and that making up for those losses is what the tax increase is all about.

"But if we dip into the cash reserves to make up the differences in the police department, we could easily find ourselves back where we were in 2011 and that was nearly bankruptcy, and we certainly don't want to do that," said Mayor Smith, who noted that the city has more than $3 million in cash reserves.

The budget also includes a 3 to 5 percent pay raises for most city employees. Leaders say city workers haven't seen pay increases in more than seven years.

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