No public comments on budget

Published 12:07 am Friday, September 7, 2012

NATCHEZ — When it came time for the public to comment on the Adams County Board of Supervisors’ proposed budget for fiscal year 2012-2013, they didn’t.

When the floor was opened for public comment on the $22,543,849 budget, no members of the public stepped forward to the podium, and the hearing was closed without comment.

While the budget reflects a $2.6 million decrease from the current fiscal year, County Administrator Joe Murray said that is because the 2012 budget had anticipated federal funds that were to be moved in and then immediately allocated. The project those funds were linked to never materialized and so the funds were never received or spent.

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“It was basically a wash,” Murray said.

The budget does contain a millage rate increase due to a request from the Natchez-Adams County School District, but the county government itself did not increase any taxes. The 1.56-mill increase brings the total county millage to 114.27 mills.

“When the county advertised the millage increase, and it was pointed out that it was because the school district made the request, it wasn’t that the county was trying to point their fingers at the schools, but the law had changed in the posting (of proposed budgets), and any increase for a budget has to be spelled out and a reason has to be given for any increase,” Murray said.

For the upcoming year, the value of a countywide mill is approximately $214,800. The value of a school district mill is $222,865, and the value of a mill for the millage that affects county residents only is $102,170.

“We had an increased assessment value for real and personal property,” Murray said. “It would have been a pretty good bit more than that, but we had an almost $1.5 million drop in public utility assessments due to Entergy taking off lines on the steamplant property on Steamplant Road.”

Because the county is retiring debt, Murray said some of the funds that were used for debt service have been moved to better fund the county’s health care insurance fund.

“It hasn’t been budgeted correctly for the past several years, so we just shored it up this year,” he said.

When President Darryl Grennell asked if it would be possible for the supervisors to make a small appropriation for the Adams County Children’s Advocacy Center, Murray said the board could do so after the budget was adopted by making an amendment.

The CAC’s request for $20,000 was made after the budget had already been set, Grennell said.

“I would personally like to provide them with something, not what they requested because we are not prepared for that, but I would like to give them a small appropriation,” he said.

In other news:

4The supervisors voted to authorize the advertisement of an anticipated loan the county will take out to fund the building of a levee on the former Belwood County Club property.

The agreement to build the levee was part of the county’s economic recruitment package in bringing alternative fuels company KiOR to Adams County.

4The board voted to advertise for bids for companies to clean up debris from Tropical Storm Isaac.

Road Manager Robbie Dollar said he would like to see county crews picking up curbside debris while contractors picked up the major debris from around the county.

Murray said the cleanup costs would be reimbursed 75 percent by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and 12.5 percent by the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.