City of Oxford approves 2021-22 budget, sees tax decrease for residents

Published 11:06 am Wednesday, September 8, 2021

The City of Oxford’s budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year is officially approved.

The Board of Aldermen approved the budget, and a lower millage rate, during their regular meeting on Tuesday.

A decrease in the city’s millage rate translates to a small decrease in taxes for city residents. The upcoming budget has a millage rate decrease of .52, bringing it down from 31.22 mills in the 2020-21 budget to 30.70 mills. Residents will see a small decrease in their property taxes and car tag payments if the proposed budget is approved next month.

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The new fiscal year begins on Oct. 1 and runs through Sept. 30, 2022.

The Oxford School District’s millage rate is set at 61.51 making the total millage rate for city residents 92.21 for the upcoming fiscal year.

“It’s a long time in the making,” said Oxford Mayor Robyn Tannehill. “This is the result of a whole lot of hours of work.”

The approved budget also includes a raise for all city employees who were hired before April of this year. Those employees who are eligible can choose between either $2,500 or a four-percent raise, whichever is a higher amount for them, according to Tannehill.

“When we started the budget process, we asked, ‘What made us successful,’ during the first round of the pandemic, and our answer was ‘Our people– our residents and employees,” Tannehill said during the Board’s Aug. 17 meeting. “It was important for our Board to say ‘thank you.’”

The projected revenues, which come from fines, forfeits, governmental services, license and permits, ad valorem taxes and sales taxes, are projected to be $34.2 million. There is about $6.8 million in cash being rolled over.

Expenses are projected to be $40.6 million due to re-budgeting for items in each department that were put on hold during last year’s budget talks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Oxford Police Department and Oxford Fire Department are responsible for the biggest amounts spent in the proposed budget. A requested $9.8 million by OPD includes the hiring of six new officers, with four of them being hired to the Downtown District patrol and two more to be worked into high call volume areas.

The Oxford Fire Department requested a budget of $6.3 million that covers the completion of the new fire station near Oxford Commons off F.D. Buddy “East” Parkway North. Also included in the budget is $776,187 for the new Animal Resource Center.

Infrastructure was a key component to this year’s budget $700,000 set aside for new access roads planned to connect Pegues Road to Ed Perry Boulevard and another connecting the Brittany Woods subdivision to the F.D. “Buddy” East Parkway. Improvements to Gator Road are also planned.

“The February snowstorm did not do our roadways and road equipment any favors,” Tannehill said.

In the coming fiscal year, Tannehill said the Board will begin holding discussions on a design for a new city swimming pool. The Oxford Park Commission has been patching the current city pool currently located on Washington Avenue the past few years.

“We will be starting to hold community meetings to hear what the community wants to see in a new pool,” Tannehill said.

Other projects the city is planning include a splash pad near the city’s skate park as well as the construction of a small park between city hall and Square Books Jr., where the current RSVP plaza sits.

The budget can be viewed below:

City of Oxford FY 2021-22 Budget