Senatobia’s Board of Aldermen voted to approve a new Ad Valorem Tax Levy for the 2022 Budget year at its September 7 meeting at City Hall.
For fiscal year 2022, the city has a projected budget of $16,104,322.70. Of that amount, 11.24 percent or $1,810,245.39 is proposed to be financed through ad valorem taxes. For the previous year the budget was $14,926,314.50 with 11.64 percent or $1,738,589.60 obtained through ad valorem taxes.
The approved increase in the ad valorem tax millage rate by 1 mill increases from 29.7 mills to 30.7 mills. The increase will fund the purchase of a new fire truck for the city.
The increase means the taxes paid on homes, automobile tags, utilities, business fixtures and equipment and rental real property will be greater.
Senatobia Fire Chief Ethan Foresman explained the city was out of time on purchasing the new truck.
“We were in a position where we had to purchase a new ladder truck,” said Chief Foresman. “Or it would affect our rating.”
Fire ratings are based on a scale from one to 10, with one being the best possible rating and 10 being the worst. Senatobia’s rating is currently a five.
“If we went to six, it would actually cost us 13% more in our insurance,” explained Chief Foresman. “That’s significant when you’re talking insurance money.”
Senatobia’s Fire Department’s current ladder truck was purchased in 1989 and is equipped with a 75-foot ladder. Senatobia’s ladder truck currently does not have a platform and is referred to as a stick truck. Any rescues must be conducted one at a time moving up and down the ladder.
The new truck will be equipped with a 95-foot ladder and have a platform. This will allow fire fighters to rescue multiple people or up to 2,000 pounds at a time.
The new truck is being custom built by E-ONE, which has headquarters in Fairhope, Ala.
“We’ll have control over everything,” said Chief Foresman. “Everything from how many compartments, color and equipment, it’s all customizable.”
To begin the process of designing the vehicle will begin October 11.
“Once we have it planned out, they will begin constructing it. Then it will take six to eight months and we’ll go down and inspect it to make sure it’s what we want,” Chief Foresman clarified. “It’s a massive undertaking.”
With the building of the new Performance Art’s Center on the campus of Northwest Mississippi Community College the new truck with the extended ladder will be necessary for the safest possible rescues in the event of a fire. There is also a need for the longer ladder in the case of an incident occurring at one of the colleges dormitories.
The increase of the millage rate will fund the purchase of truck which rings in at a price tag of 1.2 million according to Chief Foresman.
“We really were in need of this truck. For the safety of our town and residents,” said Chief Foresman.