By Adam Armour/The Itawamba County Times
The city of Fulton is going for 30 years without a tax millage increase.
As has been the case for the past 29 years, Fulton residents will not see a millage increase this year. The city’s recently-approved budget for the 2013 fiscal year maintains the previous millage rate of 31, with the value of each mill set at approximately $28,000 apiece.
Good news for the time being, although City Clerk Lisa Russell said the budget is just about as lean as it can possibly get. The belt keeps tightening; eventually, a tax increase may be necessary to give the city room to breathe.
“It’s about as bare bones as it gets,” Russell said of the budget. “There are no frills; nothing but the bare essentials.”
The $10.01 million budget includes very few changes from last year, with the exception of increases to most departments’ power and fuel expenses. The board of aldermen recently voted to amend last year’s budget to cover rising expenses, including more than $8,500 in additional fuel costs spread among three city departments and more than $12,000 in power expenses spread among four different departments.
According to Russell, the city’s contribution to its employees’ state retirement fund has also increased, as has the cost of both liability and general insurance.
“Everything has just gone up in cost,” Russell said. “There’s no one big thing; it’s just a whole bunch of little expenses that add up.”
The rising costs of these expenses are subsidized, somewhat, by a fairly healthy increase in the city’s tax revenue. The amounts of both ad valorem property and sales tax revenues collected last year were considerably more than anticipated (sales tax alone was more than $78,000 over budget), softening the blow of the higher expenditures.
According to Russell, increases in Itawamba Community College’s enrollment may have helped give the city’s sales tax a boost.