City to OK budget now, change later

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 19, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; In the interest of time, the board of aldermen decided to propose a budget similar to last year&8217;s, including salary raises approved in the past year, and make changes to the budget after it has passed.

In Tuesday&8217;s budget meeting, the board decided they needed more time to look over the proposed city budget. State law mandates the city approve a budget before Sept. 15.

After a Sept. 14 public hearing on the budget, and after it is passed, the board will look over items requesting more funding than was in last year&8217;s budget.

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The budget they were presented was balanced, including new requests, City Clerk Donnie Holloway said.

Instead of accepting the proposed budget outright, they decided to devote more time to looking at details.

&8220;We&8217;ve agreed to set aside a week in order to get everything done,&8221; Mayor Phillip West said.

It is a little unusual to pass a budget this way, but the board members have had difficulty finding a time they can all discuss it, he said.

&8220;All board members have other jobs,&8221; West said. &8220;All of them don&8217;t have the flexibility to be there from time to time.&8221;

West said he and the board members had issues they wanted to discuss, like recreation and annexation, that were not included in the proposed budget.

Alderwoman Joyce Arceneaux Mathis said she wanted to make sure staffing and repair of the National Association for the Preservation of African-American Culture museum was included in the budget.

Some requested items, like funding the Natchez Festival of Music and the health department, the city had never funded before, Alderman Bob Pollard said.

City Attorney Everett Sanders was not available for comment.