Aldermen Juggle Budget Revisions
By Jack Gurner
WATER VALLEY – It’s July in Mississippi and that means hot, humid days and fresh produce. It also means budget revision time for many municipalities.
The Water Valley Board of Alderman gathered bright and early Monday morning for a special called meeting in the boardroom at city hall to revise the budget. And they even made fresh produce a little easier to get.
“Every year at this time we have a chance to swap things around in our budget,” Mayor Bill Norris said as City Clerk Vivian Snider passed out four pages of revisions.
“No increase or anything,” the mayor explained. “This is just a chance to move things around.”
After the five aldermen had studied the changes for a few minutes, Alderman Fred White questioned, “Are all these things running that much over budget?”
“Not necessarily,” Clerk Snider answered. “We just have to switch it around at this time and hopefully it will carry us on through the end of the year.”
After a few more minutes of study, Alderman Sherry Martin asked, “Has our workers comp gone up?”
Marin was referring to transfers of just over $18,000 for workers’ compensation that provides insurance to cover medical care and compensation for employees who are injured on the job.
“It did,” said Snider.
“And our employee’s insurance went up.” Martin commented on the $30,000 plus transfer.
“Like ten dollars per person,” Snider responded.
“So basically what we are doing is taking $148,144.72 from these items and spreading it to these,” Martin said.
“And, $44,000 in the water department and just taking it out of one and putting it in another,” she added.
“Just line item changes,” the mayor said.
Among the line item changes are transfer of nearly $16,500 for “gas/oil/grease” covering all departments; almost $15,000 for chemicals in the water department; and another $28,000 for professional services including architects, engineers, legal and accounting for city government.
The aldermen unanimously approved the changes.
The only other item of business was approval of a request to allow the Water Valley Main Street Association farmers market to be open at the magnolia tree in Railroad Park on Wednesdays from 3 to 6 p.m. That is in addition to its regular time on Saturday morning.
Following the less than nine-minute meeting, the board voted to close the general session to determine the need for an executive session.
In what appeared to be a simple procedural error, the board skipped a step in the process to enter executive session. They voted to enter executive session immediately after voting to close the meeting.
However, an executive session was already listed on the agenda “to discuss personnel matter(s) and a contract matter.”
Yalobusha County Industrial Development Director Bob Tyler met with the board to discuss an ongoing project and left the executive session after 27 minutes.
The board then met for another five minutes before returning to regular session at which time the aldermen voted to raise the pay of an employee “to 14 cents above minimum to make him equal to where he is now.”
The new federal minimum wage goes into effect on July 24.
The next meeting of the Board of Aldermen will be the regular monthly meeting scheduled for August 5.