Supes pass tight budget
Wednesday, August 27, 2014 1:00 AM
County supervisors approved a proposed $6.5 budget on Monday without raising taxes and set a Sept. 8 public hearing.
The budget includes an across-the-board pay raise for county employees and funds a 35-percent increase in their health insurance premiums.
Meanwhile, supervisors learned on Monday that the assessed value of Neshoba County rose by over $6.2 million, which will make the pay raises possible and cover the insurance costs.
The assessed value helps determine the amount of taxes generated for the city, county and school districts which will be due from property owners on Jan. 1, 2015.
The public hearing will begin at 10 a.m. in the Board of Supervisors' meeting room in the courthouse.
The general fund provides monies for such departments at Sheriff, Justice, Chancery and Circuit clerks and courts, emergency management, parks and recreation, coliseum and library, among others.
In presenting the budget, County Administrator Benjie Coats gave supervisors an overview of the county's final assessed values, including the most recently obtained for public utilities, prior to their final action Monday on the FY 2015 budget.
The total assessed value of the county rose from $164,189,268 to $170,428,018.
The biggest increase, or $2.9 million, came in automobiles, followed by personal property, which rose by nearly $2.4 million.
Public utilities rose from $4.1 million to nearly $4.4 million.
Coats said the county saw $8.5 million in true value new construction in 2012, which was assessed at $983,628.
Assessed value is a percentage of true value, such as 10 percent for owner-occupied houses and 15 percent for businesses.
In addition, Coats told supervisors that several loans for economic development were paid off in FY 2014, freeing up additional monies for the new year which begins Oct. 1. These include TVA and CAP loan payments for Taylor; a loan for a roof at Garan; and TVA and CAP loans for the former Durasip building in the industrial park in Union which the county later sold.
For the first time in many years the county's solid waste department will end the year with a surplus, Coats said.
"We will end the year with about $25,000," he said. "It is encouraging that the tide is turning. Quiet honestly, you guys have done a real good job of holding the line to get that ship turned around. It was almost $400,000 in the red at one time."
While the county is seeing its health insurance rise by 35 percent, Coats said it could have been worse. He reminded supervisors that employees would retain their dental and vision insurance in FY 2015 under the new policy with All-Savers/United Healthcare.
"Basically, you are 3 percent above where you were last year at this time," Coats said, noting that supervisors elected to switch from Blue Cross Blue Shield to United Healthcare last year at a savings.
Allen Hardy of Philadelphia Security Insurance presented supervisors on Monday with a quote from Blue Cross for the new year, which was higher than the 35 increase from United Healthcare.
"You're almost doing damage control this year," Hardy told supervisors about healthcare. "It's [deciding] what is going to do the least amount of damage."