County approves ad valorem increase

Josh Presley
News Reporter

The Clay County Board of Supervisors approved its budget for the 2015-16 fiscal year at a special meeting Tuesday. The approved budget will see a $202,994 increase in ad valorem taxes for 2016.
Clay County Chancery Clerk Amy Berry said the total projected ad valorem revenue for 2016 was $5,315,552, up from last year's $5,112,558.
"About every other year the board build's up an accumulated cash value for debt service funds, and last year the board voted to use that fund to offset any increase in ad valorem tax," Berry said. "That was not available this year, which lead to an increase."
Before approving the budget, the board hosting a public hearing, which was advertised to begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday. The board elected to enter a closed session with Golden Triangle Development LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins rather than enter the public hearing, which was pushed back until nearly 10:30.
After the hearing, the board voted to set the millage rate for the upcoming year at 34 for the general county, up from the 33.8 for last year.
Berry said the beginning cash balance for the county's reserve fund was down from last year. For the 2014-15 reserve fund budget, the beginning cash balance was $598,998, while for the upcoming year the beginning balance is $473,278.