Horn Lake weighs tax increase

Friday afternoon, Horn Lake was not a welcome place for homeowner Angela McKibben.

McKibben said overall taxes in her Woodshire neighborhood nearly doubled last year, and now the city plans to hike its millage rate from 32 to 38. For example, homeowners with a $100,000 home would pay about $60 more a year in property taxes.

"They need to find out where the money was misplaced and mismanaged," she said.

Horn Lake Mayor Nat Baker said he feels like the bad guy after inheriting the sticky circumstance when he took office last month, but he can see no way around a tax increase. He's tight-lipped about the details.

"I have some ideas, but I wouldn't want to comment on it at this time," he said.

Action News 5 learned Friday the city has failed to collect more than a million dollars in city fees, and two major development deals are in a holding pattern. The DeSoto Commons building is currently empty, and developer Dial Properties has failed to pay a property tax bill of more than $600,000. The city will try to sell the land if Dial does not pay.

"I'm getting very close to hiring someone to come in and help us collect these debts," Baker said.

Baker said he's doing everything he can to prevent the city from cutting services or increasing public works rates, but a recent hiring freeze hasn't helped.

Angela McKibben said she is ready for action.

"I think we should all get together down here and do something about it," she said.

McKibben is even ready to move if she doesn't get her way.

She and nearly 40 of her neighbors plan to attend Horn Lake's public hearing Tuesday night when the city will explain why taxes should increase. By law, the city has to have its budget in place by September 15th.