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City Budget Is Repeat Of Previous Years

Alderman Phillip Tallant reviews the proposed budget for the coming fiscal year.

By Jack Gurner

WATER VALLEY – To quote baseball great Yogi Berra, “It’s like déjà vu all over again.” The city budget of just under $3 million for next year is basically a repeat of this year and the year before and the year before that.
“About the same budget that we operated under this year,” Mayor Larry Hart told aldermen at the first Tuesday meeting, Aug. 5. “We did well, as I reported to you in July, on our revenues for the year. And we’ve pretty much budgeted the same revenue for the next go ‘round.”
Hart explained that one of the city’s main sources of revenue is shared revenue or sales tax. “And it appears after ten months that we are going to be right on target with what we have budgeted…$400,000-something this year,” he added.
“I use that as a measure of our local economy and it seems to have held up well this year,” Hart continued.
The mayor said that on the expenditure side the city had just a few increases including $8,700 in local government. The police and fire department will be the same.
He did note that the street department will probably have to purchase a new street sweeper and money was added to capital outlay to cover that expense.
Still under expenditures, health and sanitation as well as parks and cemeteries will remain the same as last year. There is a slight increase in expenditures for the library that has to do mainly with insurance.
“So, when we put our expenditures against our income, we project an end of year balance of $393,218,” Hart predicted. “Of course that will vary to the actual, but that’s what we forecast.”
The mayor moved from the general fund portion of the budget to the water and sewer department where, he said, EPA requirements continue to plague the city. Hart said that he predicted a little additional revenue, but it would be offset by increased expenses due to ammonia nitrogen in the wastewater discharge.
At one time, the EPA allowed up to 20 milligrams per liter in the discharge, but they have now lowered it to 4 milligrams per liter, according to the mayor. “In my opinion that is almost impossible to attain chemically,” said Hart.
“The reason for that tightness is that we ultimately discharge into Otuchalofa and EPA is concerned about ammonia nitrogen going into our water supplies,” the mayor continued his explanation.
He added that city officials would probably have to tweak water rates before the year is over to purchase additional chemicals to bring the wastewater discharge into compliance.
Concluding his outline of the budget items, Hart said, “Tonight we shall adopt this proposed budget and proposed levy. Our millage rate will stay the same at 37 mills. That’s always good to be able to hold it there.”
The mayor then gave the timeline for adopting the new budget, which includes a public hearing on Sept. 2 on the same night as the first Tuesday meeting for September. Then a special meeting will be held one week later, on Sept. 9, to adopt the budget for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2015.

Rotary Donation Helps Fund Pocket Park

By Jack Gurner

WATER VALLEY – Work will finally begin this month on the “pocket park” to be located at the corner of Wagner and Main Streets.
Water Valley Main Street Association Director Mickey Howley told alderman at their first Tuesday meeting that funding had been received from the Rotary Club of Water Valley to get the project started.
Howley said the $2,500 cash needed for the project would be supplemented by volunteer hours and borrowed equipment. He expected work to begin in two weeks “probably on the hottest day of the year.”
It has been two years since a group of Mississippi State architectural students came to town to look at the property and come up with a plan to clean up and make it useful again, in this case as a small downtown park.
Howley also told aldermen that the first downtown pep rally for the Water Valley Blue Devils would be held Thursday evening, Aug. 28. A second pep rally for homecoming will be Sept. 25.
The 6th annual Water Valley Arts Council Art Crawl will be held Saturday, Sept. 20, from 5:30 until 9 p.m. Howley said with a large grin that he didn’t check the Mississippi State schedule, but that date is an away game for Ole Miss.
He added that the WVMSA would have their annual meeting in mid-October and there are plenty of tomatoes still at the Farmers Market.
Among other items at the Aug. 5 meeting, aldermen:
• Renewed the contract to provide water to the Jeff Davis Rural Water Associa-tion, an every five-year ritual.
• Approved the Municipal Compliance Questionnaire for submission to the city’s auditors.
• Agreed to advertise for bids on two transformers for the Water Valley Electric Department as part of the joint project with TVEPA that will provide a second source of power to the city.

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