West Point lowers millage rate

Published 8:00 am Thursday, August 11, 2022

WEST POINT — The West Point City Council lowered the city’s millage rate from 8.81 mills to 8.337 mills at the city council meeting on Monday. The decision was finalized in a 5 to 1 vote, with councilwoman Deedee Williams voting in opposition.

Williams, while in agreement that the millage rate should be reduced, argued that rate should be rolled back beyond the city staff’s recommendation of 8.337 to 8.0 mills.

“I move that we further roll back to 8.0 with the thought in mind that we would give additional relief to our citizens, our taxpayers, and to go beyond what we are required to roll back,” Williams said. “That would still give us more than $2 million dollars to work with, which is more than what we had last year.”

Councilman Joseph Downs responded to Williams by noting that her projections could only be regarded as estimates and that it would be more financially sound to go with the city staff’s recommendations, especially in the current economic climate.

“I understand what Mrs. Williams is saying but what she doesn’t understand is that this is the only number we are dealing with,” he said, referring to the financial statements that they were presented with. “Projections of what we will get or what we won’t get are purely conjecture. This is an economically uncertain time, and we don’t know how our economy is going to go in our state or city.”

After being asked by Councilwoman Gloria Marshall about the impact of rolling the millage rate to 8.0, City Manager Ed Moon responded by noting how going lower than the 8.337 mileage rate could lead to several department budget reductions and a decrease in city service availability.

“It would have an impact. Departments in the budget process last year were asked to cut their budgets 5 percent in order to make the rollback rate work, and there is a possibility that could happen this year,” Moon said. “We could potentially have a situation where we rollback, have a reduction in revenue and might have a less level of service based on that amount.”

After a brief period of more discussion, the council ultimately decided to continue forward with the city staff’s recommendation of rolling the mileage back to 8.337. This decision marks the fifth consecutive year that the city council has reduced the rate.