Supervisors OK 2023 fiscal year budget; Wilson challenges school district to cut expenses

Published 2:31 pm Thursday, September 15, 2022

NATCHEZ — The Adams County Board of Supervisors approved a 2023 fiscal year budget of $33,094,763 in projected total revenues and projected total expenditures of $32,395,332.

Budgeted revenues are predicted to be down from this year’s budget of $34,413,662, and budgeted expenditures are down by $926,201 from FYE 2022’s budget of $33,321,533.

Supervisor Kevin Wilson

Adams County taxpayers will see an increase in ad valorem tax levy of 1.93 mills — from 116.36 mills to 118.29 mills — necessary only because of the increased funding request from the Natchez-Adams County School District, county officials said.

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Last year, the school district requested $13,955,634 from the county. This year, the school district has requested $14,246,155.

By Mississippi law, the board of supervisors must provide the funds the school board seeks, county officials said.

The only comment coming from supervisors before the passage of the budget was from District 2 Supervisor Kevin Wilson.

“I would be remiss in not saying something about the bottom line in the advertisement in the paper about the school district raising the mills,” he said. “What I would like to see in the future is where that number goes down in the future.”

The school district has about 2,700 students, which breaks down to spending $16,000 per student per year to the school district from county taxpayer funds.

“We have seen nothing on the school’s part as far as lowering the number of people working at the school,” Wilson said. “There are over 700 people working there. Several times there have been people come in and audit the school and each has said, ‘Hey, you need to do this or this,’ to better the school system and you need to put more teachers in the classroom. Every time they’ve done nothing about that. They’ve done it the same old way every time.

“So, while the city did a better job by putting someone on the school board recently who is going to make a big difference, I don’t think we did last time. We just reappointed somebody,” he said. “The only way to fix that, since we don’t have an elected school board, is to vote in better people in these positions, and in the board of aldermen — people who care about these things. And I hope in the future we do a better job.”

No supervisor responded to Wilson’s comments. No one from the public attended the meeting to offer comments on the new budget.

County Administrator Angie King presented supervisors with the most notable increases and decreases in expected revenues for FYE 2023. Increases include:

• Rents owed to the county of $67,120

• Use tax modernization of $359,840

• Penalties for delinquent taxes, $62,741

• Gaming revenues, $50,000

• Justice Court fees, $35,000

• Oil severance, $90,000

• Reimbursement for housing of juveniles and inmates, $108,000

• Recreation, $75,000

• Road and Bridge Privilege Tax, $117,526

• Chancery Clerk fees, $42,547

• Tax Collector fees, $100,000

• State grants for Public Safety, $69,716

• Reimbursement in Emergency Management fund, $55,945.

King said notable revenue decreases in the 2023 budget include:

• Interest, $90,000

• Judgments recovered, $936,248

• Constable fees, $25,000

• Proceeds from sale of capital assets, $374,458

• VOCA grant, $250,000

• AOC grant, $35,163

• Garbage fees, $66,577

• Belwood levy, $1,000,000

• prior year property taxes, $81,014

• penalty on delinquent taxes, $105,890

King said notable increases in the county budget include:

• Maintenance (repairs to the jail), $147,272

• All sheriff funds combined, including debt, food, $359,924

• Recreation, $189,454

• Election commission, $33,000

• Information technology (time clocks), $29,968

• County reappraisal, $59,800

• County-wide fire, $73,639

• Purchase of equipment for county road department, $136,960

• Recreation bond funds, $163,588

• County administrator’s salary, $33,161

She said notable expense decreases include:

• Accounting department, $80,457

• Debt service, $310,733

• VOCA grant, $250,369

• AOC youth grant, $35,163

King said the county’s cash balance as of Sept. 14 is $3,419,703.95, as compared to the cash balance on Sept. 14, 2021 of $3,207,346.84, an increase of $212,357.11.