Levee Board proposes tax hike to cover expenses from 2011 flood

GREENVILLE — The board of the Mississippi Levee Commissioners has proposed a property tax increase to cover expenses from last spring’s flood.

Peter Nimrod, chief engineer for the levee board, tells the Delta Democrat Timesthe increase is small. He says the tax on a $50,000 home would increase from $13.20 a year to $14.50 annually.

“It’s not a whole lot, but it’s going to be enough for us to get our job done,” Nimrod said.

Currently, $1.63 million, or 86 percent, of the board’s $1.89 million comes from local property taxes. With the proposed increase, 87.2 percent, or $1.79 million, would come from property taxes.

Officials say the levee board had to dip into reserves last spring to deal with flooding.

“There was a lot of money that went out in that historic event,” said levee board member Hank Burdine.

Nimrod said the board and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have since arranged to repair the levee’s 12 main weak spots, which includes building berms and digging relief wells.

“All of the problem areas will be fixed in the next couple years,” he said. “We just need the money to buy the rights of way.”

An additional cost, Burdine said, is to cover the price of supplies, which have increased.

Because the levee successfully held during the historic flood, Burdine said, not one acre of land flooded that wasn’t designed to do so, and no lives were lost.

“We should be mighty, mighty proud of that structure that kept us dry,” he said. “You never know when that next flood will occur, and it could be bigger.”

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