Supervisors budget

Andrea Freeze and Stephanie Hanks pore over budget figures with DeSoto County Administrator Vanessa Lynchard. Supervisors adopted the county's budget without a tax increase on Tuesday.

The DeSoto County Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved a $161 million budget without a tax increase, a feat owed primarily to the rising value of DeSoto County property.

“This is the 15th year we’ve had without a tax increase,” said DeSoto County Administrator Vanessa Lynchard. “The only way in DeSoto County for a taxpayer to pay more taxes is if they had a reappraisal of their property or improvements to their property such as a swimming pool or a garage.”

The ad valorem tax rate for DeSoto County for fiscal year 2018-19 is 41.02, unchanged in recent years.

Supervisors Tuesday did approve increased funding for the First Regional Library System and approved capital outlay expenditures totaling $13.5 million for improvements to several roads, including Holly Springs Road, Craft Road, Swinnea Road and Nail Road.

DeSoto County also allocated $1 million for the McIngvale Road project, which is in addition to the more than $1 million appropriated recently by the State of Mississippi for that project.

Additionally, funds were appropriated for Ingram Mill Park, sidewalks to the Lewisburg Schools campus and funds for the circuit clerk’s office to archive marriage licenses.

Lynchard was nonplussed by the fact that DeSoto County government had to absorb nearly $529,000 for unfunded mandates in this year’s budget alone.

Additionally, costs passed on to the county by the state include an increase of nearly $300,000 for chancery court reporters and administrators, up from $632,000 to $903,000.

“There is nothing the courts can do," Lynchard said. “These salaries are set by the state. The state has never increased that allowance. Costs for court-appointed attorneys for indigent parents and families cost taxpayers $87,000, or a $60,000 salary plus office allowance."

The District Attorney’s Office asked the county for an increase not covered by unfunded state mandates, or an additional $38,000.

“That is a state office and it should be funded by the state,” Lynchard said. “These unfunded or underfunded mandates are something that we have to deal with.”

Robert Long is Community Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune. 

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