TUPELO – Lee County Board of Supervisors President Bobby Smith said he was pleased that the supervisors showed unified support for a budget that thrilled none of them.
The board unanimously passed an overall Fiscal Year 2014 budget of $55 million today that includes cuts to road and bridge funding.
“Sometimes you have to do things you don’t like to do,” Smith said of the road and bridge funding cuts. “It’s always difficult.”
Among the funds approved for the budget year that begins Oct. 1, the supervisors supported a modest tax increase that will pay for upgrades to the county’s aging emergency 911 communications system.
The budget includes $20.3 million in the general fund and $34.7 million to other areas including debt service, capital projects, special revenue, enterprise and agency funds.
Countywide road maintenance was funded at $4.6 million, a 10 percent decrease compared to the current budget. Bridge and culvert funding also dropped 7 percent to $2.08 million.
Cuts in those key county service areas came from the county relying on less reserve funding and keeping spending in line with the taxes generated for those areas.
The budget includes a modest tax increase – 1.5 mills – to replace an outdated E911 communications system. For taxpayers living in the Lee County School District who own property valued at $100,000, they can expect to pay $102 in total county taxes if no exemptions are granted.
The bulk of county taxes, 67.9 percent, fund education, while the rest supports law enforcement, public health, roads and bridges, general administration, courts and other services.