Ocean Springs

We often hear that Ocean Springs residents have one of the highest property tax rates in the state. We are certainly in the top 5, so let's take a look at why this is so.


The 3 elements that form the basis of your property tax bill each year are: 

  • County Tax

  • City Tax

  • School Tax

On the next page I will illustrate with charts some of the specifics, but what I want to communicate to my constituents is:

Of the 3 taxes listed above, the Board of Aldermen has no control over 2 of them.


The Jackson County Board of Supervisors levies the millage necessary for the needs of the county. And the school district sets the dollar amount needed each year to fund our school system. In Ocean Springs, on average, 70 to 75 cents out of every dollar that you pay in Municipal Property Tax goes to the school district and is budgeted by the School Board of Trustees.


So, what does this have to do with the property tax that you pay each year?

To put it simply "you get what you pay for"



Ocean Springs residents are fortunate to have the finest public education system in the state of Mississippi. Our school system, nationally recognized for scholastic achievement, serves as a major attraction to families who move to the Gulf Coast. I have heard countless times from newer residents that Ocean Springs was chosen as their new home because this is where they wanted to educate their children.

 

The School Board calculates their dollar requirements within the limits allowed by the State. This dollar amount is then converted into the millage required, to bring in the funds. The Board of Aldermen is required to apply this millage rate to provide the funding requested by the School Board. This is a non-discretionary act by our Board and is mandated by state law.  



The only tax levied by the Ocean Springs Board of Aldermen, are taxes needed to help fund the following city services: Police and Fire protection; Public Works services including street maintenance, repairs, and improvements; General maintenance and operational costs of the city; City Court; Parks and Recreation; the City library; and various other services. I emphasize the word help because the revenues collected from property taxes in our city, in no way, are sufficient to meet the costs of these services. 


On average, over the past decade, approximately 27 cents out of every dollar paid in City Taxes by property owners, has gone to the General Operating Fund of the city to provide for these services. (see chart on next page) Put another way, if your total city property tax for the year 2000 was $1,500.00 then approximately $1,125.00 was collected for the schools and $375.00 went into the operating fund of the city. General Operating millage would have to be set at a level somewhere around 3 times what they are currently, in order to bring in the revenues needed to fund the operational costs of the city!


So what is a fiscal conservative to do?



Well, fortunately O.S. generates a fair amount of sales tax revenues. Not enough to complete the revenue picture but sales taxes do to a large degree offset this shortfall. Ocean Springs is expected to collect around 3.2 million dollars in sales tax revenues this year. And that projected figure is always tentative, because sales taxes fluctuate with the economy. In addition to taxes, the City collects other revenue from sources such as privilege license fees, permits, franchise fees, court fines, and various other state and local grants. 

If a significant decrease in the current level of sales tax revenues were to occur, however, City officials would be faced with only one choice: reduce services, or levy the appropriate property taxes to pay for them. As you can see it is critical that we continue to encourage and promote Commercial Retail growth in order to keep property taxes as low as possible for Ocean Springs residents. 

 

 

Moving right along...Let's take a closer look on the next page at how your total tax bill is broken down.

 

Property Taxes Page 2

Ocean Springs


 

www.oceansprings.org is  privately owned by Alderman Jerry Dalgo.