HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The Hattiesburg City Council approved a tax increase Tuesday night for the first time since any of the council members or mayor were elected to office.
The council approved the 2.1 millage increase in a 4-0 vote, with Ward 2 Councilwoman Deborah Delgado being absent, claiming she was sick and leaving City Hall 10 minutes before the budget hearing began.
The city's chief financial officer, Sharon Waits, said the increase translates to $21 for a home worth $100,000.
Hattiesburg's general fund will receive a boost of 3 mills, with 2.5 going to paving and 0.5 to debt services for the public safety complex, which is set to begin construction soon to replace the current police department and municipal court.
There is also a 0.95 mill decrease to the fund for retired police and firemen. This decrease is actually smaller than what the city's actuaries and state legislature propose, but it drew a crowd at Tuesday's council meeting. The millage rate from that fund is 2.97, 0.05 mills higher than the suggested 2.92 rate.
The council is expected to vote on the entire city budget at the next meeting Tuesday, Sept. 22 at 5 p.m.