• 45°

City approves next year’s operating budget

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen has approved a $30.45 million budget with a $24,000 surplus and no increase in property taxes.

The board approved the budget at its meeting Thursday. It also set the city’s millage rate at 35.88 mills, the same millage the city has levied since 1999. The budget becomes effective Oct. 1, which is the start of the 2021 fiscal year.

During a meeting Tuesday the board agreed to not only extend a hiring freeze but also agreed to not accept any new contracts in excess of $50,000 for the first 90 days of the fiscal year.

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said the moratorium on those large contracts would allow the city to ease into the new budget and provide an additional buffer. It also will allow the city to watch as the economy hopefully continues to recover from the spring economic shutdowns brought about by the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

The budget projects $8.119 million in property tax revenue from the city’s 35.88 mill property tax and $7.75 million in sales tax revenue for 2021. The sales tax projection is $250,000 less than 2020’s $8 million projection.

Sales tax provides 25.4 percent of the city’s general fund revenue, while property taxes provide 29.3 percent.

Gaming revenue, which is 16.8 percent of the city’s revenue, is projected at $5.11 million for 2021, or $145,000 less than the 2020 projection. The city projects an additional $3.8 million in fees, court fines and interest.

Public safety, which includes police, fire, emergency medical services, emergency management and traffic as the largest share of the budget with $15.66 million; $12.65 million of that is salaries.

General government, which includes administration, the board attorney’s office, city court and other departments, has a $7.24 million budget with $3.58 million in salaries, while the public works budget is $5.18 million with $2.65 million in salaries.

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.

email author More by John