When the DeSoto County Board of Supervisors approved its budget for Fiscal Year 2020 this month, it was able to do it again without raising taxes. The board-passed budget will hold the line on taxes with a total tax levy for the year, starting in October, of 41.02 total mills.
Officials have not raised property taxes in DeSoto County for 16 consecutive years, said County Administrator Vanessa Lynchard.
“The Board of Supervisors has saved money each year for some badly needed capital projects,” said Lynchard. “They took that approach in the recession, rather than to issue risky debt during an uncertain financial era. They felt this was the fiscally responsible to protect the taxpayers of DeSoto County. The results have proven they were right.”
Of the 41.02 mills for the coming fiscal year, 28.09 mills is designated for general county needs. That is an increase of one mill from the year ending with the end of September.
More money is being moved to road and bridge maintenance and solid waste, but fewer mills are pegged for debt service.
A total of 7.41 mills will be tagged for roads and bridges, and 2.12 mills to solid waste. Both numbers are slightly higher, compared to FY 2019, with 6.97 mills to roads/bridges, and 1.37 mills to solid waste.
DeSoto County will use 3.40 mills this coming year for debt service, compared to 5.59 mills in FY 2019.
“In FY 2019, the Supervisors issued a Bond Resolution at $25 million,” said Lynchard. “This coincides with the paying off of some old debt, so projects could be accomplished using savings and bond money, without raising taxes.”
County officials will use .75 mills from the paid off debt into Solid Waste to replace funds used to construct the final cell expansion at the Rubbish Pit on Sandidge Road in Olive Branch. That money will move to other areas after a year.
Plans are also to put .44 mills into the Bridge Fund for one year to fund an aggressive overlay plan, or other road and bridge priorities for its 647.2 miles of roads and county bridge maintenance. The funding going to overlay of roads in the upcoming budget will total about $3.7 million.
Bob Bakken is Managing Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune.