Other Voices | Rod Ward: Paying Property taxes is a Civic Duty

In response to the headlines in last Friday’s paper, it is everyone’s Civic Duty to pay Ad Valorem/Property Taxes. There are certain exceptions and that is the elderly, the incapacitated, churches, CASA, Hope Haven etc… What we have now is a system of Rewards for those organizations that claim all this Civic Goodwill and yet they are not wanting to pay their Basic Civic Obligation on property taxes. There are plenty of them not to just pick on a few. They need to get Awards not Rewards. Awards are Recognition and Rewards are financial Gifts.

Property Taxes pay for all the things we need as a civilized society. Public Safety to include Fire and Police Protection, Ambulance Services, 911 Services, Roads, Drainage, City and County Employees deserve a livable salary, Public Works, Schools, Street Lights, Parks, Walking Paths, Crime Prevention, Grass Maintenance, Jails, Public Buildings, Public Litter Control and other amenities just to name some of the obvious things as there are many others.

Non Profits are coming here faster than Businesses. There a few organizations that say they promote businesses but they are bringing Non Profits in faster than businesses. The County and City Taxing Authorities can’t keep up with these type of back door leakages with Tax increases.

The next time you see a tax increase don’t say what am I getting for it say where did it all go and to who? Question organizations you feel should not be exempt from the Basic Civic Obligation. That is also another basic Civic Obligation to be Involved.

Rod Ward

Financial Statement Drilldown: Is Bay St Louis budgeting revenues it will never collect?

And the question in the post title begs the next key question in “Is City is expending the revenues it will never receive?”. The answer to both questions appears to be yes if the City budget is more than a simple piece of paper with numbers on it. First up is an analysis of Revenue account 201, where Ad Valorm Tax Revenue from Real Property is coded. Here is the salient portion of the 2013-2014 City Budget:

2013-2014 BSL Budget Worksheet

We can see that in 2012-2013 the City Budget called for total revenues for this line item, the largest of all the Ad Valorem Tax Revenue sources, of $1,680,000 yet as of September 12, 2013 only $1,284,724 had been collected. That amount ($1,284,724) should be very close to the final number aka actual for the 2012-2013 Fiscal Year as very little Real Property Ad Valorem tax is paid at that time of the year since the property taxes were due in January. Therefore using that number for 2012-2013 means that line item was short $395,276 in Real Property Tax Ad Valorem Revenues, which represents in excess of 10% of total budgeted revenues. Following is a chart which shows the 3 year trend for this revenue line item:

Source, 2013-2014 Budget Report Obtained from City's Website. 2013 data incomplete but should not differ materially from actual
Source, 2013-2014 Budget Report Obtained from City’s Website. 2013 data incomplete but should not differ materially from actual

RFP was all over this fact in comments linking a 2011 WLOX story on the problem:

Bay St. Louis mayor sets record straight about finances ~ Michelle Lady Continue reading “Financial Statement Drilldown: Is Bay St Louis budgeting revenues it will never collect?”

In Mississippi tax breaks and the gang at Port and Harbor in the news

First we have a reader question:

In the Sun Herald this morning on page 3A under “D’Iberville approves tax break to attract business” Joe Cloyd’s CDBG Long Term Work Force housing Riverside senior apartments is asking the city to abate ad valorem taxes for three years. This is not a business that produces or pays any sales taxes and was built with taxpayer money in most part already. Where does it end?

Such things usually end in bankruptcy because the piggies that are hooked into the taxpayer trough rarely stop feeding on their own.

Next up since the Bay St Louis social media policy was topical at last night’s City Council meeting I have this from Eric Goldman.org:

Police Officer’s Facebook Post Criticizing Her Boss Isn’t Protected Speech–Graziosi v. Greenville ~ Venkat Balasubramani

The bottom line is the law in this area is not settled by any stretch of the imagination for public sector employees. Continue reading “In Mississippi tax breaks and the gang at Port and Harbor in the news”