City presents $33.16 million budget

Published 12:50 pm Saturday, September 3, 2022

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen Thursday night presented a $33.169 million fiscal 2023 budget with no pay raises, no tax increase and a projected $12,379 surplus.

The budget was presented at a public hearing Thursday evening attended by some department heads. The board will approve the budget on Sept. 9. The city’s fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. called the budget balanced and fiscally responsible; “a budget I think provides the highest quality of service at the least cost to the taxpayer. It looks good; the revenue projections look good. This budget provides a balance without raising anybody’s taxes.”

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According to a PowerPoint display presented by city accounting director Doug Whittington, two of the city’s three main revenue sources have projected increases. Property tax revenue, which accounts for 31.9 percent of the city’s revenue, is projected at $9.74 million, up from $8.84 million in fiscal 2022, and gaming tax income, which accounts for 1.2 percent of the city’s total revenue, is projected at $5.88 million, up from $5.5 million in fiscal 2022.

Sales tax, which accounts for 26 percent of the city’s revenue stream, is projected at $7.95 million, down from $8 million in 2022.

The budget for public safety, which includes the fire, police and ambulance departments, is the city’s largest budget item at $16.29 million, while the budget for general government, which includes the city administration, purchasing and IT department, is set at $7.89 million.

Public works, which includes the right of way and street department, building maintenance, landscaping and Cedar Hill Cemetery, has a $3.77 million budget.

The highest cost for each department is personnel, Flaggs said, adding the city has 415 employees. Employee pay and benefits account for about 64.9 percent of the city’s total budget.

Flaggs commended Whittington and the city department heads for their work on the budgets, pointing out, “We’ve gotten the lowest (amount) of capital requests and expenditures in this budget since I’ve been here.

“This is one of the best budgets we’ve had and I hope the board will adopt it and we can move forward.”

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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