Petal aldermen approve budget/review redistricting plan

PETAL, MS (WDAM) - Some property owners in Petal may pay more in taxes this year, despite a new city budget that's actually thousands of dollars less than last year's budget. Petal aldermen Thursday night approved a new, $6.474 million fiscal budget that's $56,000 less than fiscal year 2011 and has no change in millage.

However, some homeowners may see an increase in their taxes, because of a drop in assessed property values that have adversely affected the Petal School District's budget.

"The school district asked for 8 mils on their tax levy and of course, we are the levying authority but we have no say really, in that system. We have to give the school district what they ask for," said Hal Marx, mayor of Petal. "If your house value was not lowered, this will mean a tax increase for you. If your house value was lowered, then it should be about the same as it was last year," Marx said.

He also said the city should have a cash surplus at the end of the next fiscal year.

Also in Petal Thursday night, the public got its first look at the city's new redistricting plan, which increases the number of aldermen from 5 to 7. City officials had to draw new districts because of an increase in population reflected in the 2010 census.

The plan features 6 wards and retains an alderman-at-large position.

The Board is expected to approve the plan next Tuesday. It will then head to the Justice Dept. for its review.

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