The 2013-2014 Fiscal Year signals increases and consistencies in taxes depending on location of residence come collection time on automobiles and properties. Across the board, taxpayers will face a one mill increase in the road fund. Taxpayers in the county will face a one mill increase for additional funding for volunteer fire departments. Aberdeen taxes will remain the same and Amory taxes will face a 7.55 mill increase.
<b> Monroe County </b><b>
Through 11 months of the last fiscal year, department revenues are at 98.3 percent and expenses are at 91 percent, a figure Monroe County Chancery Clerk Ronnie Boozer hopes will be right on the mark come the beginning of the new fiscal year in October.
Whereas last year, the overall budget was roughly $32,234,000, there has been an increase to $38,036,853.
A big ticket item passed during the past year was the $3 million road bond, but it won’t translate to increased taxes because of levies. The county has paid off one road and bridge debt and hopes to pay off another in the spring.
The only increase everyone will face is a road fund increase of one mill that goes hand-in-hand with the road bond, but is a separate item. The increase means if a taxpayer has a $100,000 home, he or she will pay an additional $10 in taxes.
Taxpayers outside of Aberdeen and Amory will also have a one mill increase to help fund the county’s volunteer fire departments.
“The board determined a three-quarter mill wouldn’t be enough to help. Each department gets $5,000 and this will give $10,000 to each department. It will probably be awarded twice in the year,” Boozer said.
Supervisors have been weighing a vicious dog ordinance and while no solid plan has been approved, $40,000 has been designated for contractual services to fund any action. That figure can be amended to compensate for personnel at the board’s discretion.
Amid Furniture Brand’s filing of Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week, the county has already paid off two loans on the building used for Lane’s distribution center in Wren and expects to pay off a $1.5 million MBI business loan through the Mississippi Development Authority next year, which will save $190,000 in interest fees. That levy will be moved to culvert and bridge funding.
Revenues from an increase in fees and fines have increased through the Monroe County Justice Court and helped D.A.R.E. funding because of an increased effort by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office in the county’s general fund. The county faced an increase of health insurance premiums in budgeting for the upcoming fiscal year.
Supervisors accounted for additional tornado sirens and improvements to the Monroe County Airport and these funds will be reimbursed through federal and state dollars.
The board also approved school district levies which will account for a .25 mill increase for the Monroe County School District while Nettleton’s school district faced a slight decrease.
Aberdeen aldermen Sept.10 approved the city’s $4,998,427 budget for the 2013-2014 Fiscal Year, which will not constitute an increase in the millage rate.
City officials weighed options of employee raises, but didn’t approve them since the move would have raised the taxes by four or five mills, according to Mayor Cecil Belle.
“The Stennis Institute is looking at how we can do raises. We may be able to do them on an individual basis by department, by job and by seniority, for example,” Belle said.
City officials credit consolidation of public works and changes in personnel to net more than $58,000 in savings. Since an increase from $5 to $9.50 in water rates in March, the city has been able to alleviate some of the department’s deficit.
The city has submitted a proposal to the Mississippi Public Service Commission regarding raising water rates to 700 rural customers on Aberdeen’s water system, which could potentially help with the water department’s shortfall brought upon by no increase in the rates in past years.
For the upcoming fiscal year, the water department’s operating budget is $2,055,448 and the expected revenue is $1,705,671.
Expected capital expenditures are $260,820 and for the first time, the city is using a line of credit to make purchases such as the street department’s street sweeper approved at the Sept. 3 alderman meeting. The board can prioritize items on the list and refigure estimated expenses.
The Aberdeen School District also played into no increased taxes as it made its own cuts during its budget process to relieve higher tax rates for Aberdeen citizens.
The board of aldermen voted on Sept. 12 to approve the proposed budget and tax levies for the City and the Amory School District for the 2013 tax year and the current fiscal year of 2013-14.
Due to financial troubles, the school district requested a 6.30 millage rate increase in addition to the city’s 1.25.
Pay raises for city employees, once a possibility, will have to be postponed.
“We just won’t be able to do some of the things we had planned,” said Amory City Clerk Lee Barnett.
The city’s general operating budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year is $5,869,487.
Staff writer Emily Tubb contributed to this story.