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Aldermen review $29M budget

The Oxford Board of Aldermen reviewed the $29 million 2015-2016 fiscal year budget during a recessed meeting Tuesday afternoon which included a 1-mill tax raise and a 2 percent cost-of-living adjustment for all city employees.

No last-minute changes were made to the proposed budget during the meeting nor was there any questions or comments from the public.

The aldermen have met several times throughout the summer in budget meetings to rehash the budgets submitted by each department.

“I want to thank everyone involved with this budget,” said Mayor Pat Patterson during the meeting. “Good stuff here. And good work this year even through some difficult situations.”

The 1 mill raise will take the millage rate to 29.22. The rate remained the same for about 10 years. In 2014, the aldermen agreed to raise it 1 mill for three years to help pay for new roads and other major capital projects. It’s only gone up about 5 mills total since 1995 when it was 24.25.

Out of the millage rate, 67 percent goes toward city schools, 21.55 percent goes toward the city’s general fund, 6.67 percent goes to help pay back city bonds and 1 percent goes to the Oxford and Lafayette County Public Library.

Patterson said recently he expects a small millage raise next year.

Expected revenues

The projected revenues, which comes from fines, forfeits, governmental services, license and permits, ad valorem taxes and sales taxes, is projected to be $26,799,908 with $1,760,260 in cash on hand expected to be rolled over from this year’s budget. Expenses are $28,931,309 and include the across-the-board 2 percent raises.

Sales tax brings in the most revenue with $8,126,491 projected for 2016.

Ad valorem taxes are expected to bring in $6,389,620 and government services should bring in $3,420,000. Some of those revenue sources include water and sewer bills, recycling and the city’s swimming pool.

About 63 percent of the budget includes payroll and benefits for employees. Capital outlay is 10 percent, services and other charges are 16 percent and supplies are 11 percent of the budget.

The biggest chunk of change out of the budget goes to the Oxford Police Department, which submitted a budget of $ 6,116,097 that included purchasing eight new patrol cars and hiring five new officers.

Oxford Fire Department requested $4,375,826 this year with $112,000 going toward the purchase of a new radio system.

The aldermen will vote on the budget at their next regular meeting at 5 p.m., Sept. 15. Public comment will be allowed.

By law, the city’s budget has to be approved by Sept. 15.