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Power plant tax change could hit Vicksburg, Warren budgets

August 18, 2019

VICKSBURG, Miss. (AP) — Local officials in Warren County say the Mississippi Department of Revenue could decrease the tax assessment on a power plant there.

The change would affect budgets for the county, the city of Vicksburg and the Vicksburg Warren School District.

Entergy’s Baxter Wilson power plant in Warren County is no longer operating at full capacity. Because of that, the tax assessment could decrease and local governments would collect less money, the Vicksburg Post reported.

Warren County Tax Assessor Ben Luckett said state revenue officials assess the value of all public utilities. He said the plant is operating at 40% of its generating power. Entergy customer service representative Shelia McKinnis said the company retired the generating unit at the plant in June 2018 and there are no immediate plans to replace it.

Assessed utility values play a large part in developing local government budgets. News of Baxter Wilson’s potential drop in value comes as the Warren County Board of Supervisors and the Board of Mayor and Aldermen are discussing budgets for fiscal 2020, which begins Oct. 1. The school district approved its 2020 budget in July.

During the current county budget year, which ends Sept. 30, the total assessed value for all utilities in Warren County for tax purposes was about $105 million. If Baxter Wilson is devalued, county administrator John Smith said the total will drop to about $72 million — a loss of $33 million.

Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr. believes the change would hit the school district hardest.

Smith said he is unable to complete the county budget until he receives the assessed utility values, which are usually released the third week in August.

“We are not going to raise taxes,” Smith said. “We are going to cut.”

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