County OKs budget

Published 10:29 am Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The Warren County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a budget Tuesday for fiscal year 2016-2017 that boasts $2 million more in revenue than last year.

County administrator John Smith said the increase in total revenue came from an increase in tax revenue, and in addition to increasing the amount of money for the county’s road paving project, the accepted budget addressed the Vicksburg Warren School District’s concerns about increasing taxes and included plans to update radios for the MSWIN system.

The board, Smith said, shifted reoccurring expenses from the gaming fund, which is funded through gaming revenue distributed by the state, to the general fund, which is funded through taxes, so that more money could be designated to road improvements.

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“The board does not want to go into debt,” Smith said. “The roads are deteriorating, so instead of borrowing money to pave the roads, we got everyone out of gaming because the public will accept those reoccurring costs. (We put) those costs in the general fund and let taxes pay for that. Now whatever we get (from gaming), we’re going to spend it on roads. The philosophy will be pay as you go.”

The budget allocated more than $1.7 million for road improvements—almost double the $902,000 budgeted last year. During the meeting, the board approved paying $227,292 toward the Warren County Paving Project.

Smith also said the new budget only increases the VWSD school district’s funding by about $300,000.
“It was a slight bump, but the assessment came up a little for them too,” meaning the amount brought in from taxes increased slightly and made the increase relatively proportional to last year.

Board president Richard George said the update to MSWIN, a statewide public safety communication system, was an expected budget increase.

“We know the radio system was a must. We knew we had to do that,” he said.

The approval of an additional 1.4 mills to expand Hinds Community College’s Vicksburg-Warren Campus was less expected, George added.

“The emphasis on a trained work force for the opportunities that appear on the horizon such as the major impact of Continental tire, we wanted to be able to meet those kinds of needs,” he said. “Dr. (Clyde) Muse and the college are preparing for the future and it’s very very important to many of our students to have that available.”

According to a breakdown provided by Smith, for every dollar of taxes paid to the county, more than half goes to the school district, almost 30 cents goes to the general fund, 9.2 cents goes to roads and 5.2 cents go to Hinds with the public library and debt service rounding out the dollar. Almost half of the general fund is spent on public safety, according to the chart, with each mill bringing in $520,000.

“Our budget meets our necessities,” George said.