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.
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.