Oxford budget approved

Published 10:24 am Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Oxford Board of Aldermen approved the fiscal year 2016-2017 budget Tuesday during a special meeting.

By law the city must approve the budget before Sept. 15.

The budget includes a 1-mill tax raise and a 1.5 percent cost-of-living raise for all city employees. Several full-time employees making less than $30,000 were given additional one-time raises to get them up to $30,000.

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No last-minute changes were made to the proposed budget during the meeting that was open to the public but was not a public hearing.

Last week, during the public hearing on the budget, there was no comments for or against anything in the budget.

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

The 1 million raise will take the millage rate to 30.22. 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.

The aldermen also approved the allocating .55 mills to assist the operation of the Oxford-Lafayette Count School of Applied Technology.

“Other than the 1 mill we previously approved for roads, we aren’t raising taxes,” said Mayor Pat Patterson.

Revenues and expenses

The projected revenues, which comes from fines, forfeits, governmental services, license and permits, ad valorem taxes and sales taxes, is projected to be $28,939,732 with $2,734,241 in cash on hand expected to be rolled over from this year’s budget. Expenses are $31,394,039.

Sales tax brings in the most revenue with $8,665,374 projected in the budget; however, earlier this month, City Clerk Ashley Atkinson said with the growth rate, the city could see more than $9 million in tax revenue over the next 12 months.

Ad valorem taxes are expected to bring in $7,029,063 and government services should bring in $3,467,500. Some of those revenue sources include water and sewer bills, recycling and the city’s swimming pool.

The biggest expense is the Oxford Police Department, which submitted a $6.6 million budget that included purchasing four new patrol cars and hiring four new officers.

Oxford Fire Department requested $4,2 million this year, FNC Park requested $1.2 million and Parks and Recreation asked for $1.6 million.

Patterson said the budget process is “government at its finest.”