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Budget cuts needed

NATCHEZ — If City of Natchez department heads get what they’ve asked for, the city will be spending more in the coming fiscal year than it did in the last.

The budget for the 2010-2011 fiscal year was

nearly $12.29 million, City Clerk Donnie Holloway said, and the 2011-2012 fiscal year’s budget would be

approximately $12.87 million.

Holloway said the city department heads’ budgetary requests were loaded into the city’s computers this week, and just at first glance, he can tell more cuts will have to be made this year.

“At a glance, they probably won’t get what they asked for,” he said.

In the coming weeks, the city will hold public budget hearings to discuss both individual departments’ budgets and the city’s budget overall.

The board of aldermen will vote to approve the budgets, and a final decision must be reached by Sept. 15 in anticipation of the fiscal year beginning in October, Holloway said.

Since the federal government is going to be making cuts, Holloway said, Natchez wouldn’t be able to depend on federal grants as much as it has in the past.

Another contributor to drops in funding per each department would be the upcoming city elections, he said.

“We’ve got an election to run, and that’s $40,000,” Holloway said.

Planning and zoning needed additional funds, as well, he said, and the city also took on a full-time assistant city planner.

Holloway said the budget would be discussed more in depth at Tuesday’s board of aldermen meeting.

“We’ll all sit down and look to see what’s been requested,” he said. “Some of the (requests) will be high, some of them will be low, and we can determine where we need to go from there.”