$1.2 million loan will fund county payroll

Published 12:05 am Friday, October 14, 2011

NATCHEZ — The Adams County Board of Supervisors voted Thursday to take out a $1.2 million loan in order to be able to fund payroll until taxes roll in.

County Administrator Joe Murray said the type of loan the county will receive will not be a “tax-anticipation loan,” which can be used for any type of expenditures.

The loan the county will take out, which is outlined in Mississippi Code 11-19-21, under the heading “Emergency Expenditures,” requires that the county spend the money on previously outlined expenditures.

Email newsletter signup

The vote was taken at a specially called meeting Thursday in which the board also interviewed candidates to appoint to the Natchez-Adams School Board.

Board Attorney Bobby Cox said other counties often take out loans to fund government operational expenses from October to January.

“Adams County is not in the habit of doing this, but most counties do it regularly,” Cox said.

Unexpected shortfalls in tax revenues and an unexpected payment of approximately $550,000 on a road bond note contributed to the need to take out the loan.

Murray said the county now has an average of $1.3 million in cash on hand, but that number changes daily.

Payroll for October, November and December will cost a total of approximately $1.4 million, Murray said.

Payroll costs the county $230,049 in monthly paychecks and $254,110 bimonthly paychecks, Murray said. Those rates can change at each pay period, however, based on overtime or hourly wages.

In order for the county to adopt the resolution allowing them to take out the loan, the board — by law — had to vote unanimously.

Cox said the board could not borrow more than the county needs.

“Can we get a line of credit instead of borrowing it all?” District 1 Supervisor Mike Lazarus asked at the meeting.

Cox said borrowing on credit would be preferable because interest rates will likely be 3 to 4 percent, which would be equal to approximately $420,000 in interest.

Murray said he would probably attempt to take out the loan at a local bank.

He said the ratio of expenditures to revenues tends to be even more uneven than 2-1 until January, when more tax revenues will be collected.

Last year, Murray said, the county spent $7 million in the first three months and took in only $3 million.

Murray said other factors that make the first three months of the fiscal year difficult include the wait-period that falls between spending county money on grant programs and receiving the reimbursements from the grant source.

Murray asked the board at the first board meeting of the new fiscal year to authorize him to request departments only spend money on necessities or in the event of an emergency.

Murray said budgeting large cash balances in the general fund could prevent the county from taking out a similar loan next year.

“It’s so important to make sure to have cash on hand to carry you at that time,” Murray said.