TUNICA, MS (abc24.com) - There's sticker shock in Tunica County. Residents will be digging deeper into their pockets to pay tax bills next year.
In September, the county hiked its rate more than 30 percent. Everyone who owns a car, home or business will be affected. Tax bills started going out the first of December. Shortly after that, phone calls started in the tax collector's office.
"We had something like anywhere from ten to 12 calls a day," says tax collector Norma Anderson. "We had people coming in maybe about ten or 15 times a day." Tunica residents were questioning their latest tax bills.
"They come in and we tell them the value has not changed, it's just the millage rate," Anderson tells abc24.com. It's gone up 33 percent this year.
The increase affects the majority of Tunica's 11,000 residents. "Across the board whether you own a home, a car or a business," says county administrator Clifton Johnson. "Everybody is being taxed the same rate."
"Taxes, taxes, taxes. It's hard to stay in business," says Robert Stanton of Birchfield's Garage. Taxes on his automotive shop are up about three hundred dollars.
"From about $600 to $890 this year. My home went up from $144 last year to $269 this year."
The increase should bring in three million dollars. That's how much less the county's receiving from Tunica's casinos, whose revenues keep falling.
"A lot of people are frustrated and want to know where the extra money is going to come from," Anderson says.
Before the hike, Tunica had the second lowest taxes in the state. Even with the increase, it will stay comparatively low.
"I'm very happy with taxes," says Jim Williams. "I guess because of the casinos our taxes are negligible compared to anywhere else I've lived, even with the increase."
"It's going to keep on where you can't afford to live here," Stanton worries. "I know other counties are higher, but it's tough for folks just struggling to get by."
By law residents have until February 1st to pay their bills, after that they will start paying penalties.