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No Tax Hike In Proposed Water Valley Budget

By Jack Gurner

WATER VALLEY – The City will be operating on a tighter budget for the upcoming fiscal year with anticipated revenues down more than $39,000 from last year.

“Where we’re going to win in this budget is on the expenditure side,” said Mayor Larry Hart. “We know revenues are going to be soft.”

Total revenues are expected to be $2,708,434, according to the proposed budget Hart presented to the Board of Aldermen at their regular monthly meeting on Aug. 4.

Total general fund expenditures for 2009-2010 are anticipated to be $2,523,900. That is up $52,541 from last year’s budget.

One of the reasons expected revenue is down is a decrease in the assessed value of property within the city that has created a $33,000 shortage over last year.

“The assessed value in the city of Water Valley is down some $890,000,” Hart said. “And, that’s pretty significant because it is the accessed value that we apply our millage to in order to get property taxes.”

The Mayor emphasized there’ll be no increase in the current millage rate of 37 mills.

Sales tax is another source of income and it is holding pretty strong, Hart added. “We’re ten months in and sales tax has performed admirably. We anticipate that to be fairly stable this next 12 months.”

One of the reasons that expenditures are up is a three percent pay raise given to city employees at the end of last year. About 62 percent of the budget goes toward personnel services, according to Hart.

Among the general fund expenditures:

• Administration – $410,000, up $24,348;

• Public Safety – $1,125,900, up $17,414;

• Public Works – $530,000, up $11,837;

• Sanitation – $279,000, down $16,297;

• Parks and Cemeteries – $179,000, up $15,239.

“I believe in this budget I’ll be able to squeeze out the money to do those things that need done to enhance our city,” Hart said. “We only get one first impression. You never know who is passing through your town.”

“We’re going to clean up our city,” said the Mayor. Among his other priorities are paving streets and improving sidewalks. “We’re also going to work closely with the Main Street organization in improving and developing our Main Street area.”

Aldermen took the first step toward a final budget by approving the purposed budget. It will be published in the Aug. 27 issue of the North Mississippi Herald. A public hearing will then be held at the beginning of the Sept. 1 board meeting.

After the public hearing, there is a one-week waiting period to adopt the final version and set the millage. Hart told Aldermen that a special called meeting would be held on Sept. 9 to adopt the budget.

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