FORREST COUNTY, Miss. - The Forrest County Board of Supervisors said residents can expect a millage increase in the near future.
Board President, David Hogan mentioned residents will see an increase of about 1.4 mills in the county and about 2 mills inside the city limits of
Hattiesburg and Petal.
He said the projected increase comes after a county settlement with the three men wrongfully imprisoned for a 1979 rape and murder of Eva Gail Patterson.
Hogan said, "The state legislature does not allow county's to borrow money to pay court settlements."
He said the state legislature allows municipalities. "While we were working on this budget and found that out...we are going to have to take that settlement money $5.4 million out of our carry over" added Hogan.
The city released a statement earlier this month regarding the settlement:
"Mississippi Municipal Liability Plan (MMLP), the city's insurer, and county's insurers will cover the mass majority of the $16.5 million settlement plus litigation expenses to date. The city's portion of the settlement totaled $1.2 million, the majority of which will be paid by MMLP. Although this settlement is substantial, it represents a fraction of the average settlements and jury verdicts obtained in similar cases around the country."
Hogan said property owners will see a yearly increase of about $14 per $1000,000 of value in the county and approximately $20 per $100,000 for city residents.
He said the board has approved to publicize the budget, and taxpayers will have a chance to voice their concerns at a protest hearing at the Forrest County Chancery Court.