Adams County adopts budget

Published 12:08am Friday, September 13, 2013

NATCHEZ — The Adams County Board of Supervisors adopted Thursday a budget for the coming fiscal year that projects $1,045,273 more in expenditures than revenue.

The budget as adopted plans for the county to receive $23,394,519 in revenues, an $850,670 increase over the current fiscal year, but it also projects for $24,493,792 in expenditures, a $1,706,887 over this year’s budget.

County Administrator Joe Murray said the discrepancy between expenditures and revenues will be made up with the approximately $2.9 million in cash balances the county will have spread across its various funds at the end of the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

Of the increases in expenditures, $769,500 can be attributed to bond payments for the county’s purchase of the former International Paper property, and $308,500 is tied to payments of the warehouse property the county purchased in the Natchez-Adams County Port this year.

The warehouse note will be paid with money generated with a $340,000 annual lease between the county and the port commission, which will operate the warehouse.

During the public hearing before the budget was adopted — it was the second public hearing for the matter — only one resident spoke up, asking how much of the county’s budget was directed toward the operation of the county-owned hospital, Natchez Regional Medical Center.

Supervisors President Darryl Grennell said the county does not underwrite any of the hospital’s operations. Instead, he said, the hospital is self-sustaining.

The county does, however, have to ratify the hospital’s budget, and will do so Sept. 27, he said.

The supervisors also said they do not have plans to build a new county jail in the coming year. Adams County Sheriff Chuck Mayfield had said earlier this year his office would begin investigating if overall maintenance costs of the current facility might ultimately warrant building a new jail.

Supervisor Mike Lazarus said Thursday he did not believe that was the case at this time.

“The cost of maintaining that jail is a lot cheaper than (constructing) a new jail,” he said.

Lazarus said other factors about the state of the jail have to be considered as well.

“A lot of that (damage) is being caused by inmates,” he said. “That isn’t going to change with a new jail.”

Murray said some of the structural issues the sheriff’s office has expressed concern about are being addressed. The jail’s roof is being repaired, he said, and drains that were clogged have been cleared.

“When that drain was blocked, it was making the water pool on the roof,” Murray said. “No matter where it is, if you have water pooling like that, it is eventually going to seep unless it is a swimming pool.”

The supervisors did not adjust the county ad valorem millage, leaving the county millage rate at 114.27 mills.

Some property owners may see higher taxes, however, if their property has been assessed at a higher value than its previous assessment. Under the adopted county valuation, 60.22 mills will produce the same amount of revenue for the county as 61.83 did this year.