City talks millage at first of budget sessions

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 1, 2009

NATCHEZ — City officials have begun discussions of the 2010-2011 fiscal year budget and the board of aldermen is considering how a recent change in millage will affect taxpayers.

Officials on Monday discussed state mandated property tax reassessments after City Data Processor Gary Valentine presented the reassessed value of one mil from $104,000 to $115,665 in the city.

Due to the increase, officials are considering adjusting millage appropriations among departments.

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“Our main concern is with millage,” Alderman Mark Fortenbery said. “We need to make sure we do this right and fair for the citizens.”

Work sessions at City Hall will continue at 4 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday as officials review budget requests with department heads.

City Clerk Donnie Holloway and Valentine fielded questions from Aldermen James “Ricky” Gray, Fortenbery, Ernest “Tony” Fields and Alderwoman Joyce Arceneaux-Mathis, who said limiting the use of transfers should be a top priority.

The city has transferred nearly $500,000 from its general fund to various departments this year. The transfers, which are non-repayable loans, have landed the city in debt.

Holloway said the board will review the proposed budgets for the Natchez Police Department, Natchez Fire Department, the Senior Citizen Multi-Purpose Center, Parks and Recreation and Planning and Zoning on Wednesday.

Aldermen Bob Pollard and Dan Dillard did not attend Monday’s work session. Mayor Jake Middleton, also not present at the work session, is attending the Southeastern Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials conference in Biloxi. He’ll return to the office Wednesday.