City expects ‘another year with a balanced budget’

Published 10:24 am Wednesday, September 15, 2021

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NATCHEZ — The City of Natchez Board of Aldermen approved its 2021-2022 budget at its meeting Tuesday morning.

The city’s budget for the new year beginning Oct. 1 projects revenues of $36.778 million, which come from ad valorem taxes, sales taxes and funds from franchise fees, leases and rentals and miscellaneous revenues, and expenses equaling anticipated revenues.

The city’s new budget does not call for any increase in taxes.

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The city’s current fiscal year budget, which ends Sept. 30, projected revenues of $33.467 million. Mayor Dan Gibson said the city is expected to finish the current fiscal year “in the black” by about $900,000.

“We are looking at another year with a balanced budget,” Gibson said.

Ward 6 Alderman Dan Dillard proposed a motion, which passed unanimously, delaying any pay increases for hourly or salaried employees and delaying any planned purchases of vehicles or equipment until the second quarter of the 2021-2022 budget. The second quarter begins Jan. 1, 2022.

“This gives us an opportunity to see that the revenues we are expecting are what is coming in,” he said. “In the first quarter, revenues are just beginning to come in and this gives us a chance to see if what we anticipate will coming in is actually what is happening.”

Dillard praised the work of City Clerk Servia Fortenberry in not only preparing the budget, but also preparing it in a timely manner. Dillard praised the work of city department heads and others who have helped the city operate within its budget.

“For the last couple of years, we have been able to operate without tax anticipation loans, and that hasn’t happened in a very long time,” he said.

Gibson also thanked the city’s consultant, CPA Wallace Collins, calling his work “fantastic” and saying the city would not have made the strides it has with cleaning up his financial house without Collins’ help and advice.