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Trainer pitches road taxing district

August 23, 2010

One Oktibbeha County supervisor who has been trying to get his district’s roads paved for more than three administrations has made a proposal that just might work for him.
District 2 Supervisor Orlando Trainer asked the board Monday if his constituents alone could decide by vote if they want their taxes raised for a $3 million road bond.
This would require creating a special tax district for Trainer’s area and would not affect the other four districts in road construction or taxation, a condition required if supported by District 4 Supervisor Daniel Jackson.
“I think it’s sad for me to be in this position where I’m able to do these things, but I can’t because of the system under which we operate,” Trainer said.
Oktibbeha County business operates under the unit system, which allots each supervisor the same amount of money for infrastructure improvements.
District 5 Supervisor John Young said that a previous administration made that decision based on the idea that it would be cost-effective.
Trainer said that at the time that decision was made, “an attitude of corruption was in the air.” Young said it wasn’t prudent to put a tax burden on the county citizens at the last minute.
“I would only be asking the taxpayers of District 2 if they want to pay for better roads,” Trainer said.
The decision to issue a bond for that district, thereafter, would still be left up to the board.
“I’m using the same procedure that the hospital used (when OCH Regional Medical Center proposed putting a $27.5 million bond on a ballot),” Trainer said.
“Sonny Kelly (CEO of OCH) came in here one time,” he said. “And I’ve been requesting to put a bond on the ballot for over a year.”
The hospital bond issue passed, increasing property taxes for citizens of both Starkville and Oktibbeha County. The decision to issue the bonds, however, was left up to the board in the end.
Board President Marvell Howard suggested that county attorney check out the “legalities” behind such a decision if made by the board.
If the state does not allow special tax districts, the board could ask for special consideration when the Legislature convenes in January.
“Sounds good,” Trainer said. “Sounds good.”

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