Yazoo County is working to begin the process of establishing a volunteer fire department for District 3, and to end the process of collecting taxes for Yazoo City.
Both developments are related to the recent failure of the city and county governments to reach an agreement related to fire protection.
The Yazoo County Board of Supervisors informed city officials that the county would cease to collect taxes for the city 90 days after the city stopped providing fire protection for the five mile radius outside the city limits that the city has protected for years.
Board president Cobie Collins said he wants city officials to be prepared for the changes to come.
“I don’t want the city to be ambushed,” Collins said. “We need to keep them informed about what we’re doing. It doesn’t matter how the city is treating us.”
Travis Crimm Jr., Yazoo County’s tax collector, said that if the county stops collecting taxes for the city, the county would still collect the city’s motor vehicle taxes.
“If we’re going to do this, and it looks like that’s where we’re heading, we will no longer be collecting their taxes as of October 1,” Crimm said.
Crimm said city taxpayers would then pay their county property taxes at the Courthouse and their city taxes at City Hall.
Crimm said he expects it to be difficult for the city to prepare for tax collections.
“It’s going to be a nightmare,” he said. “It will probably cost them a good bit of money with all of the software, personnel and training that will be required.”
“It’s not going to cost them; it’s going to cost the city taxpayers,” said District 1 Supervisor Caleb Rivers.
“We need to let them know what their obligations are,” Collins said. “I just wish that someone could explain to me how the city and county have worked together for so many years, and now with this new city board all of a sudden it doesn’t work.”
“The taxpayers of Yazoo City don’t deserve this confused mess,” said District 4 Supervisor Jayne Dew.
Rivers asked if the county would lose money by ceasing to collect the city’s taxes. Currently the city pays the county for its collection services at a rate of 2.5 percent of collections.
“We’re not making much money at all when you factor in all of the expenses,” Collins said.
There’s a brand new fire truck at the county barn for District 3, but there’s not much else.
Construction hasn’t yet began on the fire station. There is no equipment, and even if there was there are no volunteer firefighters to use it.
Volunteer firefighters are needed. Anyone interested is urged to contact Yazoo County Emergency Management Director Jack Willingham at 746-1569.
The board voted Friday to order a pump and hose reel for the new department’s brush truck. Board members also instructed Willingham to identify other equipment needed.
Willingham explained that some equipment can’t be purchased until the volunteer firefighters who will serve are identified. For example, it’s impossible to order pants until you know the size of the person who will be wearing them.
A nonprofit organization is being created for the department that will be filed with the secretary of state.
District 3 Supervisor Willie “Deuce” Wright, who represents the area the new department will serve, said he is pleased to see the process moving forward.
“This makes me feel good because we’re taking the right steps,” Wright said. “We want to protect everybody. We’re talking about people all over the county and in the city.”