County officially adopts 2014 budget
Wednesday, September 11, 2013 1:00 AM
A proposed $6.2 million general fund budget for fiscal 2014 was formally adopted Monday by the Board of Supervisors, who set the county's overall tax levy at the same millage rate as the previous year warding off any tax increase.
No one appeared before the board during its hearing for public comment on the county's overall budget for 2014 which totalled nearly $18.3 million.
The general fund provides monies for such departments as the Sheriff, Chancery and Circuit Clerks, Tax Assessor, library and parks, among numerous others.
Supervisors also adopted the budgets of both the Neshoba and Union public school districts, neither requiring a millage increase.
The Neshoba School District is seeking $3,213,681 from the county, up from the $3,163,593 requested for the previous year.
The increased in assessed value of the district is expected to generate the additional monies.
Union School District is seeking $366,835 from the county, up from the $330,258 the previous year, with the additional monies coming from the increased assessed value of the district as well.
After giving the Board of Supervisors a final overview of the proposed budget Monday, County Administrator Benjie Coats termed it a "spending plan" for fiscal 2014.
"A spending plan is only as good as the folks in control of it," Coats said, noting that the budget was tight on spending.
Since 2009, supervisors have cut most county departments by 13 percent in an effort to ward off a tax increase.
In addition, 15 jobs left vacate by resignations and/or retirements have not been filled.
That includes 10 in the county road department, one in Justice Court, one in the tax office and three fulltime positions at the coliseum, including the director.
Board President Keith Lillis and other supervisors thanked Coats for his hard work to ensure that the budget could be funded without a tax increase.
"We appreciate all the work you put in it," Lillis said.
The concensus of the board was to spend within the budget in the new year to avoid a shortfall on revenue.
"Y'all have the purse strings," Coats said.
In the new year, most county department budgets were held to the same levels of spending as 2013, except for an 1 1/2 percent increase in the county's share of employees' state retirement.
Under the 2014 budget, the sheriff's department would see an additional $67,195 to fund, among other things, two new patrol cars.
The tax office would see an additional $46,143 to fund rising postage costs associated with the sanitation department, tag notices and tax bills, as well as employee training for state certification purposes among other things.
An increase in the number of days cases are hear in various courts helped spark increases in those areas.
Chancery Court will see an $18,607 increase; Juvenile Court, $60,842 and Circuit Court, $25,147, which includes additional money to help fund a change of venue case later this month.
An increase in the number of cases heard in Juvenile Court is particularly expected.
"That is trending upward fast and you really don't have any say so or control over it," Coats said during the budget meetings.
The county jail would see an additional $75,785 in the new year to house prisoners and fund added expenses for food, repairs and utilities.
With the opening of the new Emergency Operations Center in 2014, supervisors opted to move $203,723 from of the emergency management expenditures in the general fund to the county-wide E-911 service fund budget.
Supervisors did not discuss any of the requests by department heads for salary increases for employees.
The new budget goes into effect Oct. 1.