By Jack Gurner
WATER VALLEY – City Officials have granted BorgWarner an ad valorem tax exemption on property valued at $772,000.
Mayor Larry Hart told aldermen at their June “first Tuesday” meeting that the exemption was related to the manufacturing company’s recent expansion that includes a clean room facility and the addition of several jobs.
Alderman Fred White said that he didn’t think the exemption should be granted. “I’ve voted against it all these years and I am still against it.”
“It means a lot to our community to keep them here,” countered Alderman-at-large Donald Gray.
White said, “I don’t deny that. But, if I am able to pay mine, they are able to pay theirs.”
“Ronald Reagan one time said,” Alderman Larry Bell commented, quoting former President Ronald Reagan, “He said, ‘Businesses shouldn’t pay taxes; people pay taxes. Businesses hire people; people pay taxes.’”
“We’ll have to figure that out,” added Hart, calling for a vote. The exemption passed, 4-1.
Among other actions at the June 7 meeting, Aldermen:
• Heard a report from Main Street Director Mickey Howley, who thanked City officials for their assistance with the World’s Largest Crappie Festival held May 7.
“It was a pretty successful festival,” he said. “Everybody is insisting we do in again.”
Howley asked for the City’s permission to hold another crappie festival next year on the first Saturday in May.
He also read a portion of an email from the daughter of Fred Bright, Elaine Bright Staveley of Cordova, Tenn. Bright caught the five pound, three ounce crappie that still holds the record. The fish was caught in July of 1957.
Staveley wrote that her father would get a “huge kick” out of the festival. “Thanks so much for honoring my Dad in this way.”
The only other item Howley had to report was an update on the National Register of Historic Places project. Mississippi Heritage Trust will be in town the last week of July to catalog downtown buildings, he said.
• Paid $5921.56 on seven invoices from John Crow.
Crow was hired to prosecute several cases that had been appealed from Municipal Court to Circuit Court. Hart explained that some of the cases are drug forfeitures from which the City will recover money.
During the discussion, Bell asked about the collection of fines in the City. Hart said, “Our collection is running at a pretty brisk rate this year. Better than days gone by.”
• Heard from the Mayor regarding the rumor that a new grocery store was opening.
“I don’t normally mess with rumors, but I’ve had quite a bit of inquiry about Spain’s Grocery Store coming to Water Valley.”
Hart continued that he contacted the owner in Grenada. “He said that he has never planned nor does he plan to come to Water Valley. He said that he had two stores in Grenada at one time and he realized that was one too many.”
• Entered executive session at 6:42 p.m. after meeting in regular session for nine minutes and 40 seconds.
• Returned to regular session at 6:48 p.m. and announced that Brock Langham had been hired as a full-time employee in the Electric Department.
• Adjourned at 6:49 p.m. after a total meeting time of about 17 minutes.
The next regular meeting of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen is scheduled for Tuesday, July 5, in the boardroom at City Hall.