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Oxford leaders pass $28M budget without raising taxes

The Oxford Board of Aldermen met on Thursday for a special meeting and approved its $28 million budget for the 2018 fiscal year without raising taxes.

By state law, the budget must be approved by the board by Sept. 15.

The budget includes a 1.5 percent cost-of-living raise for all city employees.

The aldermen have met several times throughout August in budget meetings to rehash the budgets submitted by each department. A public hearing on the proposed budget was held earlier this month; however, there were no comments made from the public.

The board also approved keeping the millage rate at 30.22. Most of the tax levy — 20.43 mills, goes into the city’s general fund to keep the city running. Parks and Recreation receive 2 mills and the Oxford-Lafayette County Public Library takes .86 mills. The rest – about 7 mills — goes to paying off General Obligation bonds issued in 2009, 2012, 2015 and 2017.

The board also approved the 58.67 millage rate for the Oxford School District, which includes .48 mill to assist in the operation of the Oxford-Lafayette County Vocational-Technical Center. While the city has no authority over the OSD’s budget or millage rate, the board voted to approve the total property tax levy of 88.89, which includes the city and school millage rates.

The projected revenues, which comes from fines, forfeits, governmental services, license and permits, ad valorem taxes and sales taxes, is projected to be $28,199,943 with an excess of $2 million in beginning cash expected to be rolled over from this year’s budget.

Sales tax brings in the most revenue with $9,616,900 projected in the budget; however, City Clerk Ashley Atkinson said with the growth rate, the city could see more than $10 million in tax revenue over the next 12 months.

Ad valorem taxes are expected to bring in $7,418,470 and government services should bring in $3,250,000. 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 $7.3 million budget that included purchasing eight new patrol cars and hiring an additional dispatcher and creating a new position, technology manager.

Oxford Fire Department requested $5,2 million this year, FNC Park requested $1.3 million, the Street Department requested $4.1 million and Parks and Recreation asked for $1.6 million.