Meridian Star

September 3, 2013

Jail costs blamed for tax increase

The Associated Press
HOLBROOK MOHR, Associated Press

HATTIESBURG, Miss. — Forrest County residents will be paying a little more in property tax as millage rates are set to rise.

WDAM reported ( the county Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to raise the tax by about 3.6 mills.

That means anyone paying $1,000 in property tax a year will see an increase of about $36 increase.

Supervisors say the increase is needed because of operation of the new county jail. The county says the new jail costs about $3 million more to operate each year than the old prison.

The tax increase is part of the new budget that takes effect on Oct. 1 in Forrest County.

Forrest is one of a few counties in south-central Mississippi that must operate and maintain a regional jail. Board of Supervisors President David Hogan said the jail needs more employees.

"The board's hands were really tied in that regard. These operation costs are a part of the new facility. It's a larger facility, it's more complex. It meets all those federal guidelines and therefore it's costing the taxpayers more to operate." Hogan said.