Two aldermen decline raises; budget hearing today

Published 12:04 am Tuesday, September 11, 2012

NATCHEZ — The Natchez Board of Aldermen finalized an approximately $13 million balanced budget Monday and will present it to the public at a hearing today.

The budget includes raises for all city employees who have not received any or adequate raises in the past few years and a 5-percent raise for police officers and firefighters.

The budget also includes salary raises for the aldermen, except for Ward 3 Alderwoman Sarah Smith and Ward 5 Alderman Mark Fortenbery who declined their raises, City Clerk Donnie Holloway and Municipal Judge Jim Blough.

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The aldermen receiving raises will make approximately $22,000, except for Ward 1 Alderwoman Joyce Arceneaux-Mathis. Mathis and Mayor Butch Brown’s salaries are legislatively limited because of their state retirement. Mathis’ salary will stay at approximately $18,000 and Brown’s at approximately $32,000. Holloway said his salary will be $50,300 and Blough’s approximately $52,000-53,000.

Ward 6 Alderman Dan Dillard said he believed it was a positive thing that the city has not had to borrow money to make it through the end of the year and roll over debt. The current fiscal year makes two in a row without such a loan, Dillard said.

At the request of Brown, the city added $10,000 to the appropriation for the Natchez-Adams County Humane Society in support of the proposed new shelter. The humane society’s appropriation is now $25,000.

Total appropriations, which go to groups such as the Boys and Girls Club, Red Cross and humane society, total $401,205. That includes the $297,756 appropriated for parks and recreation.

The requested budgets by city departments include:

• Planning and community development: $153,461

• Information technology: $163,291

• Police: approximately $2.9 million

• Fire: approximately $2.3 million

• Engineering: $253,625

• Office of Inspections: $284,576

• Traffic department: $197,222

• Public works: $765,710

The public works’ budget also includes hiring two more employees and purchasing a dump truck, tractor boom arm and a pickup truck.

• Sanitary administration: approximately $1 million

This budget includes the $975,732 the city pays Waste Management for garbage collection and disposal.

• City garage: $391,238

• Senior center: $626,421

The public hearing for the budget is at 5 p.m. in the Natchez City Council Chambers.