County Budget

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 11, 2009

A chart prepared for the hearing helped supervisors see where county dollars are spent. This chart does not include school levies.

Supervisors adopt new county budget

By Billy Davis

After they moved methodically, line by line, through the county budget in past weeks, supervisors on Thursday picked up the pace.

In a 10-minute budget hearing, the county board breezed through a motion to accept the 2009-2010 budget. A separate motion passed to set the county’s tax levy.

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Both board orders passed 4-0. Supervisor Bubba Waldrup was absent.

The county board is working toward a deadline of September 15 to adopt a budget for the new fiscal year, which begins October 1.

The 2009-2010 tax levy will not include an increase in millage, following a five-mill increase last year.

Supervisors have vowed to maintain the current millage rate, acknowledging in past meetings that many property owners are paying more taxes following a routine reappraisal.

At the Thursday meeting, supervisors followed a PowerPoint slideshow, presented by County Administrator Kelley Magee, which summarized their previous weeks of decision-making.

Magee reminded supervisors that she calculated county revenue using “conservative numbers,” which provide a cushion in what is a no-frills budget.  

Among her calculations, Magee anticipated a 14-percent decrease in automobile tag revenue in 2009-2010, from $32.1 million to $27.6 million. She did so after Panola County has seen revenues plummet during the current recession.

She also expects county government to bring in just $1 million in mobile home taxes, down from $1.8 million that had been collected through August. That figure represents just 55 percent of countywide revenue, her figures show.

The new budget does not include a pay raise for county employees, marking the second year the budget has excluded raises.

Supervisors have not ruled out a pay raise, however, and said they will review the county budget during the first quarter of the new fiscal year.