School board delays tax increase vote

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 9, 2010

NATCHEZ — The Natchez Adams School Board passed a $45 million proposed budget with a 4-1 vote Thursday, but the board did not vote on a proposed tax increase.

The proposed budget includes the 2.91 millage rate increase, but board member Benny Wright suggested Superintendent Anthony Morris cut half the cost of the tax increase from the budget.

Wright indicated a $300,000 cut would reduce the requested amount of additional taxes by half.

“Then taxes will go up, but they won’t go up as much. If you have a $100,000 house, instead of going up $30, (property taxes) will go up $15,” Wright said.

Wright, School Board Chairman Harold W. Barnett and board member David Troutman discussed ways to ensure the cuts are made with school board attorney, Bruce Kuehnle.

Board members asked Kuehnle if it was possible to defer voting on the budget until cuts were made before the Aug. 12 meeting. Kuehnle said it was possible, but NASD’s spending would be frozen until the budget was passed. The fiscal year started July 1, so the option was not entirely viable.

Troutman suggested the board approve two separate motions. The first motion called for the budget’s approval, and the second motion directed Morris to make further budget cuts.

Wright, Troutman, board member Dale Steckler and Thelma Newsome voted in favor of the budget, and Barnett voted against it.

The board voted unanimously to direct the superintendent to make further cuts approaching $300,000 before the Aug. 12 meeting.

Citizens filled the boardroom to capacity when the meeting started, but when it concluded one and a half hours later, the crowd dwindled to approximately five people.

In other business, certified public accountant Wes Gore complimented the school board when he delivered a clean audit report of last year’s budget.

“We do a lot of work, and its rare when we don’t have to make any adjustments,” he said.