SOUTHAVEN, Miss. -- Southaven leaders are proposing a plan to leave property taxes untouched, but add fees to pay for garbage. Those fees are currently paid for by property taxes, an unusual move by a former administration.
Some residents want to know why, if the city is now charging fees for garbage, they aren't also lowering property taxes. By not doing that, they're calling the new budget a tax hike.
Natalie South moved to Southaven for its quality of life.
”Of course, they had better schools here and so we moved here for the schools at first," she said.
But she says if Southaven leaders raise taxes, it could become too expensive to live here.
"There’s a no-win situation here I don’t think. Not for me anyway, and not for the average," she said.
At a public hearing Tuesday night, the mayor had city attorneys and experts explain the legality of the action they're taking, and explain why he didn't view it as a tax hike.
City administrators also showed how the prices for garbage fees were in line with surrounding cities, and that the extra money generated from the property taxes would be used to increase public safety, which the mayor called the number one issue facing cities in the Mid-South.
Several years ago, Southaven voters decided by referendum to raise their property taxes and include their garbage fees in their tax bill. Now, city leaders want to take that garbage fee and charge separately for it again, but keep the 6 mill from the upped taxes in the deal.
”It’s just nothing but a bait and switch that’s all it is,” said Glenn Stroupe of the Concerned Citizens of Southaven.