Board of Supervisors to approve budget, millage increase

Published 6:00 am Monday, September 4, 2017

The Warren County Board of Supervisors is expected to approve the county’s fiscal 2018 budget Tuesday on the third floor of the Warren County Courthouse.

The vote is expected to come after a public hearing on the budget Tuesday. The board proposes a $36.18 million fiscal year general fund budget for 2018 featuring a 3.11 mill increase in property taxes and a projected fund balance of $5,000.

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Under state law, the budget must be approved by Sept. 15. The 2018 fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

The millage increase, County Administrator John Smith said, will amount to a $31.10 increase in the property taxes on a $100,000 house.

One reason for the increase is health insurance, which Smith said is the county’s biggest single expense. Like the city of Vicksburg, Warren County has a self-insured health plan, and Smith said it is expected to cost the county $3.1 million this year to continue coverage.

“Insurance is a problem. Seven out of the last eight years since 2008 I’ve had a problem with health insurance. It’s a continuous problem,” Smith said.

Another large budget item is $4.19 million for the Warren County Sheriff’s Office for vehicles and equipment and to purchase a metal detector for the courthouse and hire two bailiffs to man it.

The county will also be paying more to Vicksburg for ambulance service in the county.

Under an agreement with the city, the county will pay $400 per run for each run a Vicksburg Fire Department ambulance makes in the county and pay half the cost of the runs made by the fire department’s rescue unit.

Also in the budget are two short-term loans totaling $2.6 million — $1.4 million for capital improvements and $1.2 million to purchase property for the new jail. Smith said .6 mills of the 3.11 mill levy are for debt service on the loans.

In another matter, the board is expected to discuss a request from the Vicksburg-Warren Chamber of Commerce for $20,000 to help pay for a new economic development strategic plan.

The city of Vicksburg, the Warren County Port Commission, the chamber and the Warren County Economic Development Foundation have each committed $20,000 to developing the plan.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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