Natchez adopts $37.3 million budget for fiscal year

Published 12:15 am Friday, September 13, 2019

 

NATCHEZ — Natchez officials adopted a $37.3 million operating budget for the 2019-2020 fiscal year during a special called budget hearing Thursday.

The adopted budget does not include a tax increase over the current fiscal year, officials said and reflects total projected revenue of  $37,375,210 over $36,653,709 in expenses for the next fiscal cycle beginning Oct. 1.

Before actualizing expenses for this fiscal year, CPA Wallace Collins said the city had approximately $37,649,067 in total revenue over $37,460,527 in expenses.

Collins said the Natchez Board of Aldermen should approve an amended budget during their next regularly scheduled meeting Sept. 24 that would more closely reflect actual year-end expenses.

Natchez Mayor Darryl Grennell said the budget did not include any significant funding cuts or raises apart from step-pay raises given to police and firemen.

Collins highlighted a few projects included in the budget for next fiscal year, adding they may or may not be completed during that time.

One enhancement is the continuation of a $14 million upgrade to the Natchez Railway — a 65-mile stretch of track that connects Natchez to Brookhaven — that would increase the weight-bearing capacity of steel-truss bridges and timber bridges.

The majority of the project is funded through the U.S. Department of Transportation TIGER Discretionary Grant, to which the Natchez Railway added approximately $3.9 million to meet a 25% match requirement.

Natchez and Adams County officials underwrote the grant as sponsors.

Natchez officials also plan to widen and enhance a number of city roads through the North Natchez Drainage Project.

The approximately $3 million project is partly funded through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Environmental Infrastructure and Resource Protection and Development Program, also known as Section 592, and requires the city to share 25 percent of the cost.

Before the budget was adopted, Aldermen Dan Dillard commended the aldermen and financial advisors for their work in creating a balanced budget.

“This is the third year that we have finished without the need to borrow additional money,” Dillard said. “… I believe that is worth noting. I have confidence in this budget as we have proposed it.”