Lauderdale County annex

Dave Bohrer / The Meridian Star

The Raymond P. Davis County Annex houses several Lauderdale County offices.

Lauderdale County supervisors will vote Thursday on a proposed $58.7 million budget for fiscal year 2020, including the Lauderdale County School District's requested tax increase of 1.19 mills, county leaders said.

Last month, George Hedgepeth, the school district’s director of finance, said the district had additional expenses from Public Employees’ Retirement System contributions and health insurance, and the tax increase would cover approximately $700,000.

Tax revenues accounted for 59% of the county budget, according to a presentation by County Administrator Chris Lafferty at a meeting Monday.

The budget includes a projected increase in revenue of $3.9 million from real and personal property taxes, he said.

Lafferty said some of those funds could be used to help build a new courthouse on the site of the vacant Village Fair Mall, as well as road projects and bond debt. 

“We’re doing great,” Lafferty said. “We’ve been on a pretty steady track for the last probably five or six years.”

The draft budget includes more than $147,000 in raises for elected officials, including the coroner, circuit and chancery clerks, tax collector and assessor, constables and supervisors, Lafferty said. The raises are permitted under Senate Bill 2827, he said.

There are no cost-of-living adjustments for county employees included in the proposed budget.

The plan includes funding for new road paving equipment, an additional fire truck, and nine new vehicles for the sheriff’s office, according to Lafferty.

Lafferty said approximately $25,000 has been set aside for an industrial scanner for the planned move to a new courthouse.

“We’ve got to shrink our document footprint, so we’ve purchased an industrial scanner for documents,” he said.

Funds for the equipment used in electronic monitoring of youth court defendants increased by $45,000, according to Lafferty.

The board reviewed and rejected an additional $3.7 million in requests, including extra equipment and personnel, he said.

District 1 Supervisor Jonathan Wells said he was pleased with how the budget turned out.

“We would love to be able to give all of our departments everything they've asked for,” he said. “When it comes to budget season, we have to look at the big picture and get to a place where we can afford and function.”

The budget for fiscal year 2019 was $56.6 million.

The board votes on the budget at 9 a.m. on Thursday Sept. 12.

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