Overall revenue projected to be lower for city

Published 12:22 am Monday, September 17, 2007

NATCHEZ — When the city board of aldermen addresses the proposed city budget at today’s meeting, they won’t raise property tax rates, a city official said.

The city is required to run an advertisement titled “notice of tax increase,” even if the tax rate isn’t increasing, City Clerk Donnie Holloway said.

For example, the city ad valorem tax rate, or millage, isn’t changing, but the advertisement reads “a proposed ad valorem tax revenue increase.”

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“We have to print it that way,” Holloway said. “I don’t know why the state does that, but that comes directly out of the state book. The county’s was the same way.”

This year’s budget revenue was roughly $23.15 million. The city has projected next year’s revenue at roughly $20.15 million.

Roughly $3 million of last year’s revenue was one-time match money and federal grant money for the North Natchez Drainage Project, Holloway said.

The grant money helped pay for the renovation of the 200-year-old drainage canal under Canal Street.

The city’s proposed budget is balanced, Holloway said.

“Gaming was off, and sales taxes were off compared to what we had projected,” Holloway said.

In addition, franchise fees, fees energy, natural gas and cable companies pay to the city, were down.

Costs went up since last year for such expenses as garbage and insurance for workman’s compensation, he said.

But there’s good news, too, Holloway said.

“I’m projecting an approximately 10 percent increase in sales taxes for the next year,” Holloway said. “With two, maybe three, (new) hotels online, it should increase some of our sales tax revenues.”

The city budgeted no raises for employees.

No pay, benefits or employees were cut, Holloway said.

The millage, a measurement of property taxes, will remain the same, 42.732 mils.

Millage is 1/10 of one cent, Tax Collector Vernona Sanders has said.

If a city resident owns a house assessed at $100,000, the tax would be figured by multiplying $100,000 by .042732.

The aldermen will have a public hearing at 5 p.m. today in the council chambers.