County approves budget

Published 12:14 am Friday, September 16, 2011

NATCHEZ — Adams County will take in $22.4 million and spend $25.2 million in the next fiscal year, according the budget that the Adams County Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted after Thursday’s public hearing.

One member of the public — the future District 3 supervisor and current board secretary, Angela Gibson Hutchins — attended the hearing for the 2011-2012 fiscal year budget, which included no change in taxes for residents.

The county’s expenses are greater in number than revenues, largely due to bond financing and federal and state reimbursements for projects.

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The county’s budget legally must show full payments to contractors, for instance, even though the county is financing the payments through incremental payments over multiple years.

County Administrator Joe Murray said the county’s budget reflects tight spending when taking into account a zero tax increase despite a drop in revenues because of a lower tax assessment.

The county recently suffered a $3.2 million drop in the assessed tax value of property, which came mostly from unusable equipment at Mississippi River Pulp that came off the tax rolls.

The county’s general fund will have a budget of $12.9 million in expenses, which is up approximately half a million dollars from last year.

The change in the county’s general fund can be mostly attributed to $580,000 for Emergency Watershed Projects, Murray said after the board meeting.

Murray said 85 percent of the EWP projects, however, will be paid for with federal funds from the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The Adams County Sheriff’s Office was budgeted to spend approximately $2.4 million to run the department and approximately $940,000 on the custody of prisoners.

Separate from those budgets but falling underneath the umbrella of law enforcement, Metro Narcotics will cost the county approximately $300,000, courthouse security will cost approximately $180,000 and the Mississippi Department of Transportation’s litter program in conjunction with the sheriff’s office will cost approximately $32,000.

Murray said the county will be reimbursed for much of the expenses of Metro Narcotics and the MDOT litter program through federal and state grants, respectively.

Juvenile detention will cost the county $490,000.

The road department is expected to spend $2 million in 2011-2012, which is less than half of last year’s road department budget. Murray said the drop in the road department expenses is attributed to an asphalt overlay project that the county is paying for in the current fiscal year.

The budget includes $3.2 million in expenses to the bridge and culvert fund. Murray said $2.9 of those expenses, however, will be paid for with federal funds for the St. Catherine Creek Bridge project.

The county will spend $1.1 million on sanitation, which includes a $12,000 increase from last year’s budget. Murray said the increase is mostly attributed to an increase in employee benefits.

Taxpayers will pay the county same millage rate as last year — 112.71.

The value of a mill for county residents inside the city limits is $211,035.

The value of a mill for county residents outside the city limits is $101,925.

The value of school mill is $218,547.