County budget gets tight

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 17, 2005

NATCHEZ &045;&045; County Administrator Charles Brown has made it clear to every department of Adams County government &045;&045; pinch pennies as much as possible for the rest of the fiscal year.

In letter Brown sent late last month, he asked county department heads to spend carefully the amount of funds they have remaining in the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30.

The alternative is for department heads to ask their budgets be amended to reflect any additional expenses or revenues they anticipate before Sept. 30 &045;&045; and such requests must be approved by Brown.

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With each letter, Brown sent each department figures detailing how much of its budget had been spent as of April 30.

At that time, the county was 58 percent through its fiscal year, but no department was under 60 percent of its budget as of that date. Moreover, almost all departments had at least one account in which more than 100 percent of budgeted funds had been spent.

&uot;But figures can be misleading,&uot; Brown said at Monday’s Board of Supervisors meeting.

For one thing, many departments pay major recurring expenses soon after the start of the fiscal year &045;&045; for example, insurance and supplies.

Maintenance expenditures such as maintenance supplies, equipment rental and service contracts are far above the amount budgeted for the fiscal year in most accounts &045;&045; in the case of service contracts, almost 600 percent of the budgeted amount.

But there are always maintenance problems that are unforeseen at the time the budget is finalized, supervisors President Darryl Grennell pointed out.

Meanwhile, Brown is strongly encouraging department heads to work within their overall budgets during the remainder of the fiscal year.

That’s especially important in a county whose tax base has felt some effects from the closing of industries and outmigration of residents in recent years.

As Brown reminded supervisors Monday, &uot;it’s a tough budget year.&uot;