Proposed city budget includes nearly $10 million increase in expenses

Published 2:13 pm Wednesday, September 6, 2023

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Editor’s note: the city’s budget public hearing was inadvertently left out of the Aug. 27 issue of The Natchez Democrat. This story has been edited to reflect that fact. We regret the error. 

NATCHEZ — Natchez City Clerk Megan McKenzie gave an overview of the city’s proposed fiscal year 2023-24 budget to aldermen at a special city meeting Tuesday night.

A public hearing was held as part of the meeting to solicit public input on the coming fiscal year’s budget. Copies of the proposed budget were available at the meeting.

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Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson said notice of the public hearing was published in The Natchez Democrat, the community’s newspaper of record, on Sept. 3, following “Mississippi law to a T.”

Aldermen also received the fifth draft of the proposed budget. McKenzie said she expects several more drafts to be necessary before the final budget goes before the aldermen for approval at the Board of Aldermen’s next meeting at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 12 at the Council Chambers, 115 S. Pearl St., across from City Hall.

The city’s proposed budget calls for no increase in taxes to citizens of Natchez.

“Millage will remain the same, at 46.732 mills, valuing just over $6.3 million,” McKenzie said.

In addition, the city is expected to receive approximately $6 million in sales taxes, she said.

The proposed city budget includes across the board raises for almost all city employees with the exception of that of Gibson. The mayor’s salary was set at $69,000 by the board of aldermen when he took office almost four years ago. There it remains in the proposed FYE 2024 budget.

The raises across all of the city’s departments increase the budget by $403,004 in total. Of note, the city’s fire department employees, should the budget be approved as proposed, will receive an 8 percent pay increase, as will public works employees.

The city’s police department, which has received pay increases last year, will receive an additional 4 percent pay increase.

The proposed budget also includes two new positions — a planning technician for the city planner’s office and a part-time position for the recreation department.

McKenzie said several new vehicles are proposed for purchase in the budget, including vehicles for the public works department, recreation department and animal control.

She also highlighted nearly $1.2 million in infrastructure improvements in the budget, in addition to the road bond project under way now in the city.

The budget also maintains a surplus in the general fund, properties fund, casino lease fund, community development fund and capital improvement fund.

Total spending in the coming year budget increases from $42,662,315 to $51,274,793.

The city’s total budget will begin FYE 2024 with $24,283,830 in fund balances. Revenues during the year from all sources are expected to be $36,592,079. Expenses during the coming fiscal year are budgeted to be $51,274,793, finishing the year with total fund balances of $9,601,116.

Click here to read fifth draft of the proposed FYE 2023-2024 City of Natchez Budget.