Aldermen set to adopt city’s budget

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 11, 2001

Tuesday, September 11, 2001

The Natchez Democrat

The Natchez Board of Aldermen will meet at 11 a.m. today to

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adopt the city’s budget for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.

According to preliminary figures, the board is expected to

adopt a $11,598,889 budget, up from this year’s revised budget

of $11,262,236.

The budget should include some raises for city employees but,

as of Monday morning, City Clerk Donnie Holloway still was not

sure what the percentage raise would be. &uot;We’re still working

on those figures,&uot; Holloway said.

Otherwise, the budget should include more money to cover legal

services for the city, contracts for garbage pickup, firefighter

raises, three more police officers, and rising insurance and workers’

compensation costs.

It will also include budget cuts for the City Clerk’s Office

and the Inspection Department, as well as reduced appropriations

to such causes as the Red Cross, the Natchez Children’s Home and

the Small Business Development Center. Any changes made to the

preliminary budget prior to adoption are expected to be minor,

Holloway said.

The budget for the city’s general fund will include:

$158,523 for the city attorney and staff. In fiscal 2000-01,

$127,577 was budgeted – but, as of Aug. 28 figures, $153,180 had

been spent. Most of that money was spent for professional services

– $86,128, compared to $60,000 budgeted. And $90,000 has been

budgeted for professional services in fiscal 2002.

$2,090,855 for administration of the Fire Department, up from

$1,971,141 budgeted and $1,975,224 spent this fiscal year. Most

of that increase will be spent for salaries and insurance.

&uot;It’s been three years since our firefighters had a raise,

and they’re well underpaid compared to other cities our size,&uot;&160;Fire

Chief Gary Winborne said Monday afternoon. &uot;We don’t know

the percentage increase yet, though. They’re still working on


$2,682,437 for administration of the Police Department. This

year, $2,539,278 was budgeted, but the department spent only $2,479,309

of that amount, according to budget figures. Most of the increase

will be in personnel salaries and insurance to allow the department

to hire three more officers, giving the department a total of

51 officers. &uot;And that will allow us to transfer one (officer)

to Metro Narcotics,&uot; said Police Chief Willie Huff.

$906,052 for administration of the Sanitation Department, up

from $828,940 budgeted and $873,155 spent this year.

Most of that increase is due to an increase in the cost of

the city’s contract with Waste Management, which picks up residential

garbage. &uot;We also figured in raise for the three employees

in the Sanitation Department,&uot;&160;said Public Works Director

Richard Burke.

$165,613 for senior citizens’ services, up from $131,069 budgeted

and $140,314 spent this year. Most of the increase is budgeted

to cover increases in natural gas and electricity costs.

But there were also some budget cuts, including:

An overall cut of $41,809 in giving to organizations – $55,000

less to the Armstrong Library, $2,500 less for the Copiah-Lincoln

Small Business Development Center, $2,000 less for the Red Cross,

$1,700 less for the Community Action Program and $500 less for

the Natchez Children’s Home. Some appropriations stayed the same,

such as $25,000 for the Natchez Downtown Development Association.

And appropriations for parks and recreation rose $19,891.

A cut of $28,202 for the Inspection Department. In all, $150,875

has been budgeted for the department, compared to $179,077 budgeted

and $153,351 spent this year.

That is because the department has decided not to replace a

building and mechanical inspector who has left the department.

&uot;We have four people in this department now, and we’re

going to try to survive with that number, at least for now,&uot;&160;said

Building Inspector Paul Dawes.

$8,381 less for the City Clerk’s Office. For fiscal 2002, $211,672

has been budgeted for that office. This year, $220,053 was budgeted

but only $204,629 was spent.

&uot;We lost a deputy clerk and did not replace her, which

leaves us with five employees,&uot;&160;Holloway said.

$12,942 less for City Hall cleaning personnel and supplies.

For fiscal 2002, $45,320 has been budgeted for City Hall, down

from $58,262 budgeted this year but up from $42,619 spent this


&uot;We had contract labor coming in and cleaning, but it

got to be too expensive, so we cut that out and hired a part-time

person,&uot; Holloway said.