Philadelphia residents could see tax cut that would return about $130,000 to property owners.




During last Tuesday’s city board meeting and again Monday, Mayor James Young made a request to move 4 mills from a recently retired school debt into the general fund to help the city pay for several potential big-ticket items he said are on the horizon. His recommendation also includes removing 2 mills.

The proposal would move an estimated $263,555 into the city’s general fund and would eliminate approximately $130,000 the city had been receiving in taxes to cover the debt service.

No action was taken during either board meeting as the city is still considering its fiscal year 2019 budget.

One of the possible big-ticket items is the purchase of a new engine for the Fire Department. Current estimates are that a new engine could cost up to $450,000.



Another possible big-ticket item the mayor discussed after Tuesday meeting is repaying the $1 million owed to the Mississippi Development Authority for the failed AlphaGen project.

The city and MDA entered into a contract on March 25, 2011, for the Community Development Block Grant to make improvements to the facility for AlphaGen. The grant was based on the commitment of 200 new jobs within three years from the end of construction which was in June 2012.  That deadline was later extended, under a new agreement, which called for the creation of up to 80 jobs by Nov. 30, 2015.

When that deadline passed, the Mississippi Development Authority said if the city cannot find a “suitable replacement” to create jobs, the city would have to return the money.

Overall, Young said he felt the city was in better shape than city leaders were anticipating and that he thought that by moving some of the tax funds over into the general fund it would help the city pay off some necessary expenses.

Currently, the city’s proposed requested budget is $1,796,414 which would be a $5,005 increase over last year’s $1,791,409 approved budget. The budget, though, does not include the potential big-ticket items like the fire engine.

According to documents provided by the city, including all potential items could add an additional $594,846 to the budget. Young said though that some of the additional requests were merely part of department’s wish lists and that the board would ultimately whittle down the requests into a final budget.

Budget hearings for the city will continue Thursday at 5 p.m. in the board room at City Hall on Main Street.