Magee’s 2019 millage rate decreases slightly

By PAT BROWN,

The valuation of a mill for the City of Magee has been set at $39,563 for budget year 2019. This will be the basis for taxation in the city. 

As reported at the August 21 meeting of the Magee Mayor and Board of Aldermen, the millage rate to fund the budget for the 2019 budget year is 25.5, a decrease of approximately 1/2 a mill from the 2018 budget.  It is estimated to take 21.5 mills to fund the city’s general fund budget and 4 mills to fund the street department budget. 

The board is expected to approve a final budget on Tuesday,  September 4.  Once it is approved it will be published. 

In other board matters,  Aldermen Whitney Baker and Matthew Hickman were previously appointed to a committee to recommend the feasibility of a senior center to be housed at the former YMCA facility in Eastside. 

Baker reported that they have looked at programs in other communities and are suggesting that Magee establish a center available to a citizens 55 and older.  It would offer a monthly lunch as a social event and make a fitness center  available, possibly at a nominal fee. 

 Seminars and educational programs could be offered, which could include financial education, retirement investment opportunities, computer skills as well as fitness and wellness programs. 

Aldermen discussed offering classes such as painting, pottery, culinary arts, woodworking, flower arranging and other programs that the senior community would be interested in.  Minimal fees may be associated with some programs. 

In addition to these stated uses, the facility could be available for community events. 

The board gave Baker and Hickman the nod to continue investigating the creation of a senior program facility. 

The board then heard from Dr. Tommy Blackledge about annexing property that he owns adjacent to Spring Lake Subdivision.  Blackledge told the board that the property would fall under the existing covenants as Spring Lake.  The board delayed making a decision until board attorney Bruce Smith could review plans and advise the board.   The annexation would add approximately six additional house lots to the existing subdivision. 

Mayor Dale Berry reported a change in the proposed use of the work center facility formerly used to house state inmates before that program ended.  Original plans were to provide housing for approximately 20 male parolees from the Department of Corrections in a program to be administered by Mississippi Offenders Re-Entry (MORE).  The use has now been changed to housing for female parolees.  Alderman Patrick Brown suggested that the city meet again with representatives from MORE.  He indicated that different standards are required for women residents, and the board needed to be fully aware before any agreements are in place.  The city was to lease the facility to MORE for $2,500 per month.  MORE personnel wanted an agreement before they  start work on renovations.  The board instructed Berry to set a special meeting with MORE representatives.  Berry said he would announce the date and time so interested parties could attend. 

Members then discussed  the 14.5 acres the city had been interested in acquiring from the county school board, who had said they would give the city the property in lieu of an annual payment of $15,000 per year that they have been paying for use of the high school baseball field at the sportsplex.  The original payment agreement  for 10 years is coming to a close.  Board members expressed concern over the annual maintenance and utility costs for operation of the field. 

The board agreed to enter into discussion about doing the property transfer and getting an annual stipend from the school board to assist with costs associated with maintenance of the field.