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Council eyes tiny tax hike

The Cairo City Council on Monday night tentatively approved a minute tax increase for city taxpayers.
Councilmen unanimously voted to tentatively set the millage rate at 7.49 mills, which is the same as last year and which will result in a .42 percent tax hike to generate $6,184 in additional tax revenue.
City Manager Chris Addleton recommended this week the council maintain the 7.49 millage rate, which will generate $1,481,305 in tax revenue.
“Do we feel comfortable with the digest figures?” Councilman James H. (Jimmy) Douglas asked.
City Clerk Carolyn Lee answered affirmatively, and noted that she had reviewed the figures multiple times before presenting them to the council.
The city tax digest grew by $1,694,759, bringing the total net digest for the city to $197,771,089.
Based on digest figures, real property within the corporate limits reassessed by the county tax assessors office dropped in value by $869,021. That was offset by new constructions and digest additions which total $2,026,370.
The total value of personal property within Cairo decreased by $396,474, motor vehicle values decreased $977,090 and mobile homes dropped in value by $66,343.
Those decreases were offset by a $1,108,296 decrease in freeport and other tax exemptions. The total exemptions dropped from $8,700,471 last year to $7,592,175 this year.
The five-year history of tax levy and the current levy being published by the city in this issue of The Messenger indicates that over the last five years, city taxes have grown by $133,969.
Councilmen will meet again during a called meeting set for Monday, Nov. 16, at 5 p.m. to vote on final adoption of the tax millage rate. The tax ordinance will be voted on at the council’s Nov. 26 meeting. Following that vote, city officials anticipate that city tax bills will be mailed by Nov. 30 and will be due and payable 60 days later. City Clerk Carolyn Lee says she is hopeful the bills will be mailed by Nov. 30, but it could be later.
In other business Monday night, the council:
‰Accepted the low bid of $293,130.03 from Radney Plumbing, Inc., of Valdosta for water system improvements planned for the Morningside subdivision located north of 1st Ave. N.E. and south of U.S. Highway 84. The city was awarded a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant to fund the project. City Manager Addleton says the remaining grant funds will be used to do more water improvements in the area. The bid was unanimously accepted, but not until after discussion of the range of bids. City Attorney Thomas L. Lehman questioned the wide range of bids that ran from the low bid up to $456,401.36. Addleton told councilmen that consulting engineer Stacy Watkins was familiar with Radney Plumbing’s work and recommended accepting the low bid. “The difference in these bids scares me,” Lehman commented.

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