By Amanda McBride
The Choctaw Plaindealer
The Choctaw County Board of Supervisors held a busy meeting on August 31. They held public hearings, approved the 2012-2013 budget and tax levy and approved a tax anticipation note.
In the budget hearing, copies of the proposed 2012-2013 budget were passed out to the approximately 20 citizens then the board answered questions.
Questions about the differences in the each road district budget were asked. Chris McIntire, board president, said, “This budget (road districts) is setup on need and expenses. Road funds are really hard to budget because you have so many different revenue streams.”
According to the proposed budget, there will be no millage rate increase.
District 5 Supervisor Eric Chambers said based upon his calculations, the county should have around $1.9 million cash to bring into the 2012-2013 budget year. He suggested the board budget those funds. McIntire responded, “It’s gonna take everything we have in cash on hand to make it till January or February.” Early 2013 are when county taxes are due.
After more discussion the board voted to approve the budget.
The board also voted to approve the county’s tax levy at 79.09 mills.
Look for more details about the approved budget and tax levy in next week’s Plaindealer.
The supervisors also held a public hearing on the proposed tax anticipation note. The board has advertised to take out a $1.5 million tax anticipation note but after further review, according to Chancery Clerk Steve Montgomery, the board can only have a $1.3 million tax anticipation note.
McIntire said the note is only a line of credit in case of an emergency. He does not believe the county will need to borrow the money.
Questions were asked of how the supervisors plan to fund the 2012-2013 budget and pay back $1.3 million. McIntire said the board included $800,000 in the hospital bonds sinking fund in the just approved budget but they could use those funds if needed.
After more discussion, the board was asked again how the tax anticipation note publication was published in the August 1 newspaper since the vote did not take place until July 31 and the newspaper’s deadline was before that date. McIntire said, “We met the publication deadline.”
After more discussion and arguing over that matter, Wanda Vowell said she is protesting the tax anticipation note.
“I am protesting the issuance of this tax anticipation note.” She continued by reading a written statement from her which compared this year’s tax anticipation note to the Board of Supervisors in the 1920s and other allegations. She asked for a copy of her protest to be entered into the minutes and did not receive a response.
Marty Crowder, county engineer, said he believes the board is making sound business decisions.
“I think ya’ll are making sound business decisions. Ya’ll don’t have any surplus or rainy day funds.”
This discussion continued with more disagreements.
Later in the discussion, District 5 Supervisor Eric Chambers asked the board to commit not to borrow no more than $300,000. McIntire said he would not limit the county. He reminded everyone that the tax anticipation note is only a line of credit if the county needs the funds.
District 4 Supervisor David Carter said he believes the county is moving in the right direction.
“Last year the county borrowed $900,000 and paid it back. We are looking at having $300,000 surplus to bring forward. That’s the direction Choctaw County needs to be going.”
District 1 Supervisor Archie Collins made the motion to approve the tax anticipation note with 2.1 percent interest with Bank of Kilmichael with a second from District 2 Supervisor Larry McClain. It was approved with a 4-1 vote with Chambers voting against it.
Also in the meeting, Rebecca McGrew with the Red Hills Mine, asked board to approve a resolution to publish the possible closure of McIntire, East Clear Springs and Pruitt roads for mining activity.
After a short discussion, the board approved the resolution to publish and hold a public hearing on the possible closure of those roads on September 28.
At her request, the board also approved a resolution to permanently relocate Nebo, Salem-Bywy, McIntire and Null roads that are currently under mine activity, to follow section lines. The relocated roads would be straighter and follow section lines. McGrew said all currently affected landowners have signed agreements. Mike Thomas, with the mine, said the agreements also give the county a right of way that they did not have before.
The supervisors also approved:
-To purchase a new AS400 system from Premise, Inc. for approximately $29,000.
-Pay two claims from Weaver Insurance for workman’s comp $12,138.77 and liability insurance $24,860.
-Bus turnarounds list.
-To take off the books the 2009 delinquent taxes of Gregory Wise and Phillip McKibben since the land is 16 section land and the school does not pay taxes on that land.
-To move $220 from the General Fund to the Airport Fund to close out the airport grant.
-To recognize the Grand Jury report.