City restores funding to humane society
Published 11:56 pm Thursday, July 20, 2017
by DAVID HAMILTON
NATCHEZ — Natchez aldermen approved Thursday “a good chunk” of budget amendments for the current fiscal year — including a full restoration of funding to the Natchez-Adams County Humane Society.
With humane society board members present, the aldermen voted to grant $20,000 in appropriations to the society. That figure combined with the $5,000 given to the society earlier this month fully restores the $25,000 the city had been providing prior to this fiscal year.
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At a July 11 aldermen meeting, Natchez Mayor Darryl Grennell said the society’s funding issue had been brought to his attention. Grennell said this year’s budget cut had occurred last year at a work session when he was out of town, and no one on the board had any recollection of such an instance. The mayor concluded that the cut had likely been made mistakenly.
After Thursday’s decision to fully restore funding, the attending NACHS members broke out in applause.
Ward 6 Alderman Dan Dillard requested that the city “make those appropriations … of those monies as promptly as possible.”
Grennell noted the importance of the NACHS in the community.
“We have an animal problem here in Natchez, and we all know that,” he said.
“We have got to get this figured out.”
Following the appropriation to the NACHS, City Clerk Megan Edmonds presented her packet of proposed budget amendments to the mayor and aldermen.
Excluding the $20,000 granted to the humane society, Edmonds said the amendments proposed Thursday resulted “in a wash,” as money essentially transferred between certain accounts within the various city departments.
Notably, one amendment took $49,000 from the city clerk office’s wages and salaries account, which brought the account to $218,521.52. The $49,000 was moved to an account dedicated to compensating independent accountants and auditors who provided services to the clerk office.
The city had initially budgeted $48,000 for services offered by accounting firms Collins, Barr and Hembree — who handled the city’s forensic audit and provided consulting services to the city clerk office — and The Gillon Group — who is currently handling the city’s annual financial audit. The additional $49,000 makes for a total of $97,000, which Edmonds said would cover all audits and consulting fees.
Edmonds noted that more budget amendments must be made for this fiscal year.
Originally, a possibility existed that the city would have had to complete all budget amendments by the end of this month. Edmonds, however, said that circumstance only applies when a city anticipates projected revenue will not materialize — meaning a deficit in revenue would exist.
Edmonds said she had spoken with financial consultant Wallace Collins and is confident no such deficit would occur.