- Associated Press - Sunday, January 4, 2015

DEKALB, Miss. (AP) - Decreases in local property tax rates are largely due to the progress being made at the coal plant, Kemper County officials say.

The $6 billion lignite coal plant being built by Mississippi Power Co. has sparked the drop in taxes for many in Kemper County, officials said. In 2013 that plant generated $8.2 million in tax revenue for the county. The facility is on track to start operating commercially during the first part of 2016.

“Once we started receiving this money we wanted to pass it on to our citizens, as well as stimulate economic development, and we saw this as one vehicle to do this,” Kemper County Board of Supervisors President Johnny Whitsett told WTOK-TV in Meridian (https://bit.ly/1DbmrV9 ).

“Over the last two budget years we were at 127 mills. We started at 127 mills, and took off 16 mills, and dropped it to 111 mills the first year. Then this past year we dropped it from 111 to 95 mills.”

The tax levy affects everything from car tags to homesteads.

Tax assessor-collector Joycelyn Robinson said many homeowners and landowners have witnessed a drop in the amount of taxes they owe.

“As much as $40 to $100 on some parcels,” she said.

Supervisor Mike Luke said some people have seen bigger savings.

“In my district I have several people that own chicken houses, and they’ve seen as much as $800 and $900 decrease in their taxes, and $600,” said Luke. “That means a lot of money that they can put on other bills that they’ve got.”

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Information from: WTOK-TV, https://www.wtok.com

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