School board passes budget without asking for tax increase

Published 3:17 pm Thursday, July 21, 2022

NATCHEZ — The Natchez Adams School District adopted its 2022-23 fiscal year budget on Tuesday—without asking for a tax increase, school officials said.

The district-wide operating budget summary shows an estimated revenue of $79.2 million and expenses of approximately $92 million, which is a deficit of $11.7 million, said Tim Byrd, who is the Interim Business and Finance Manager for the school district.
“This is mostly, or solely due to construction activities,” Byrd said.

The school district anticipates $26.1 million worth of these expenses to be reimbursed by the federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund, said deputy superintendent Zandra McDonald-Green.

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With the budget approved Tuesday, the school board also approved an ad valorem tax request resolution. Eighteen percent—or $14.2 million of the total budget—is proposed to be financed through an ad valorem tax levy—which is paid by Adams County residents through property taxes, automobile tags and business fixtures and equipment. This dollar request will later be converted into the millage rates set by the Adams County Board of Supervisors.

While assessed property values have increased, the school district’s tax request is nearly the same as last fiscal year, officials said.

“The millage rate will actually be lower than it was last year because assessed values went up and we’re asking for the same amount of money,” said school board vice president, Phillip West.

In the general fund budget, estimated revenues are $35.3 million and expenses are $31.5 million, which is a predicted surplus of $3.8 million for the general fund.

The school district’s largest expense is salaries after state legislators approved a historic pay increase for Mississippi teachers, Byrd said.

In a budget summary, expenses for the school district are as follows: salaries, $22.9 million; equipment and furniture, $17.1 million; utilities and construction, $17 million; fringe benefits $7.6 million; professional services such as contractors or architects, $6.5 million; transfers, $6.3 million; tuition and transportation services, $4.8 million; debt services, $4.3 million; and supplies, $4.1 million.

A public hearing regarding the school district’s budget was held on July 6.