Long Beach property tax levy could see first increase in 24 year - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Long Beach property tax levy could see first increase in 24 years

Long said the Army Corps of Engineers spent about $13 million improving one of the two main canals. That work was completed in 2015. (Photo source: WLOX) Long said the Army Corps of Engineers spent about $13 million improving one of the two main canals. That work was completed in 2015. (Photo source: WLOX)
The Long Beach Water Management District is holding its public commission meeting next Thursday afternoon. (Photo source: WLOX) The Long Beach Water Management District is holding its public commission meeting next Thursday afternoon. (Photo source: WLOX)
LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) -

Thousands of Long Beach residents could be facing a property tax levy increase. This particular levy hasn't been raised in two dozen years.

Canals snake their way through the City of Long Beach. Those canals are one of the main focuses of the Long Beach Water Management District, an organization that has been around in some capacity for decades.

Part of the funding for the district comes from a property tax levy.

"The levy has not changed since 1993 when it was originally adopted," said Bobby Long, the attorney working for the water management district.

That stagnant property tax levy could soon change. Long said the Army Corps of Engineers spent about $13 million improving one of the two main canals. That work was completed in 2015.

Since then, it's been up to the district to maintain the improvements. Long said doing that takes funds that the district doesn't necessarily have.

An assessment was recently finished that concluded the best way to get the needed money was a tax levy increase by a percentage or two. Long Beach's property owners don't seem to mind.

"As far as maintaining the canal, well, that's where our water's going. I guess we should have to pay for it to get out of here," said Arthur Kuhagen, who has lived in Long Beach for two decades.

"It won't make much of a difference to the individual, but it will help a lot of people that are having problems with the flooding," said Bill Spurlin, who owns a flea market on 28th St.

"Well, 2 percent, I don't think it would hurt that much," said Kenneth Gibson, who lives on the canal that wasn't improved.

Although Gibson is OK with the tax increase, he'd like to see proof that the work will be done.

"The ones that they've done with the rocks, you'll see the grass and everything growing in it just like you do in this one out here," Gibson said.

Gibson also said he's not too happy with the water management district trying to get an easement of his property so improvements can be made to the canal behind his house, but that's a bridge he'll cross when he gets there.

The Long Beach Water Management District is holding its public commission meeting next Thursday afternoon. Then, a public hearing will be held May 25 in Chancery Court in Gulfport. If the court approves the increase, the tax could go into effect later this year.

To find out more, please visit the district's website at: www.lbwmd.org

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