• 79°
franklin county times

Cooper residents' taxes would support county schools

By By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
June 16, 2002
The vast majority of potentially millions of dollars in school taxes paid by residents of a $35 million retirement community project inside the Meridian city limits would go to support Lauderdale County public schools.
While most of the land in the announced Cooper Communities development lies within the Meridian city limits, it is actually outside the boundaries of the Meridian Public School District. Residents would pay school taxes to the Lauderdale County School District.
Cooper Land Development Inc., the Arkansas company that plans to build up to 3,000 single family homes, townhouses and an 18-hole golf course through a lease-purchase agreement with the city, expects the project to bring in $20 million in new property tax revenue for the city.
While no precise estimates of the revenue or increased student load for Lauderdale County schools are available, the dollars are likely to reach into the millions over the long term if the 1,300-acre Cooper project proceeds as planned in the Long Creek Reservoir area.
The Cooper project is marketed toward retirees, many of whose children are grown and who may be exempt from ad valorem taxes, but residents will still be expected to pay public school taxes.
McLin said a tiny piece of the development may lie within the Meridian Public School District, but if so, it would involve only a few homes.
McLin's comments came during an interview on city school revenue issues during an editorial board session with The Meridian Star. Other topics discussed with McLin and the school district's chief fiscal officer, Suzanne Smith, will appear in Monday's edition.