Hernando City Hall

Hernando City Hall

Robert Long|DTT

Hernando aldermen voted Tuesday to increase water rates on city customers by 26 percent in a bid to make needed repairs on the city's aging water system and stay ahead of rising costs for maintenance and future upgrades.

However, the rise in water rates comes on the heels of a 16.7 percent increase in city property taxes, which was approved last month.

Mayor Tom Ferguson acknowledges the tax hike and rate increase might amount to "sticker shock" in the eyes of some city residents, but he said the increases were a long time in coming.

The majority of the increases will be to pay for fire and police pay upgrades and fund a second city ambulance.

"First of all, we need to take care of public health and safety," Ferguson said, adding that the increase in city water rates is not out of line with other municipalities.

"Our water rates are cheap compared to water rates across the nation," Ferguson said.

As far as property tax rates are concerned, Ferguson maintains that Hernando was long overdue for a tax increase. Besides, said Ferguson, the DeSoto County seat's overall tax levy is the same or less than other cities in DeSoto County.

The two most rapidly growing areas in DeSoto County are Olive Branch and Hernando, with Southaven often topping the other two cities in growth.

"Olive Branch may be a hair lower but they own their (natural) gas," Ferguson said. "They can keep their tax burden less because they have more sales tax."

Ferguson said he understands the criticism that some residents feel in having to pay more taxes for the services they receive.

"I think the citizens will be able to see what they get for their tax dollars," Ferguson said.

Robert Lee Long is Community Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune. He may be contacted at rlong@desototimestribune.com or at 662-429-6397, Ext. 252.

(4) comments

MSROSE

I will be very selective in the next election of Aldermen. They have more authority and I believe they need their constituents to voice their opinions. Hernando has also the highest AT&T telephone rates than Southaven, Olive Branch, and that law is so outdated the Board of Aldermen need to work on rewriting that "work of art" and soon!

DCguy2

not happy with the increases can't blame the new mayor. Remember as the aldermen and city attorney pointed out in his first meeting. The mayor serves in a "weak" position therefore the aldermen collectively operate in a position of strength; therefore, the aldermen are to blame not only for the increase but also allowing the former mayor to let things deteriorate to this level. Chip allowed by the aldermen to neglect infrastructure maintenance and improvements and wasted time for sidewalks and bike lanes to no where. Water increase is shocking after we were hit with the huge increase several years ago with the new water treatment plant. Hernando has highest water rates in the county.

Erin Rebel

I am beginning to regret voting for the new Mayor!

nrm3247

My sentiments exactly. Hernando city proper is already taxed heavily enough. I'm paying over $1200 a year fo water/public works. Add that to the pocket picking on property tax and I pay nearly $3k a year just to own a home here. We do need a new ambulance since we only have one at the moment. The hike seems excessive imo.

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