Oxford’s annual budget includes employee raises, focus on public safety

Published 6:00 am Saturday, September 9, 2023

9/11/23 – This article has been updated to include links to the city’s budget

Readers may access the city budget here (will open in a new window). 

In the latest Board of Aldermen meeting Sept 5, the city of Oxford’s annual budget allocations took center stage, providing a comprehensive view of departmental budget changes that offer insights into the city’s evolving priorities. Mayor Robyn Tannehill underscored the significance of the city’s rapid growth, stating, “It’s important to know that we live in the fastest-growing county, percentage-wise in the state,” and highlighted that “the average annual inflation rate over the past four years is 4.675 percent.”

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Mayor Tannehill emphasized that many budget adjustments align with the escalating costs across various sectors. The complete general budget is readily accessible on the city of Oxford’s website for public review.

During the meeting, City Clerk Ashley Atkinson and Tannehill presented key highlights from selected budget sections, focusing on departmental adjustments and the expenses associated with sustaining critical infrastructure, such as water and sewer services, to accommodate the burgeoning population.

Among the notable budget changes were salary increases for several departments in line with raises for city employees averaging about 4 percent in the 2024 fiscal year. Specifically:

Police Department

Administrative Salaries

  • 2024 Budget: $225,422.00
  • 2023 Amended Budget: $214,631.00
  • Change from Previous Year: 5.03%

Non-Administrative Staff Salaries

  • 2024 budget: $5,982,285.00
  • 2023 amended budget: $5,727,458.00
  • Change: A 4.44% increase

Fire Department

  • Administrative Staff Salaries This Year: $101,446.
  • Change from Last Year: A 3.99% increase.
  • Non-Administrative Staff Salaries This Year: $4,684,049.
  • Change from Last Year: A 4.51% increase.

Street Department (Roads and Infrastructure)

  • Previous Year’s Street Department budget: About $473,000.
  • Current Year’s Street Department budget: Approximately $491,000.
  • Change: A 4% increase.

Parks & Recreation:

Administrative Staff Salaries

  • Current Year: $85,651.00
  • Last Year: $82,357.00
  • Change: 3.99% increase
  • Non-Administrative Staff Salaries
  • Current Year: $652,029.00
  • Last Year: $758,917.00
  • Change: 14.08% decrease

Executive Department

  • Administrative Salaries This Year: $68,000.
  • Last year’s Administrative Salaries: About $65,000
  • Change from Last Year: A 4% increase.

Financial Administration

  • Non-Administrative Salary budget This Year: $335,000.
  • Last year’s non-administrative salary budget: Approximately $307,000
  • Change from Last Year: A 9 percent increase.

These adjustments in the budget underscore the shifting needs and priorities within Oxford. Increased funding for the police and fire departments reflects a heightened emphasis on public safety. Mayor Tannehill noted, “Criminals have become a lot more sophisticated and are using a lot more technology, and we have to keep up.” The reduction in non-administrative staff salaries within the parks and recreation department is an example of the city’s ongoing efforts to balance its budgetary considerations.