Tupelo council president ready to set budget meetings

Tupelo StockBy Robbie Ward
Daily Journal

TUPELO – Tupelo City Council President Nettie Davis said budget meetings with council members and city department heads likely will be scheduled next week to prepare for a lean budget that must be approved in five weeks.

Davis said she plans to schedule meetings during this Tuesday’s council work session to discuss the Fiscal Year 2014 budget.

“We might have a budget meeting next week,” she said.

Chief Financial Officer Lynn Norris has forecasted for next year flat sales tax revenue and property tax growth only from areas entering the city from annexation approved last year.

Davis said city employees shouldn’t expect a pay raise during the coming budget year but should keep their jobs. No council member or Mayor Jason Shelton want to consider raising taxes.

“We plan to work through this budget with the advice of the financial director,” Davis said. “During the harder times we didn’t let anybody go, and I’m not for doing it now.”

Shelton’s goal is to present a balanced budget to the City Council without selling bonds or dipping into the city’s $18 million in reserves. While it’s the mayor’s duty to present the budget, the City Council must approve the final document.

State law requires the city to pass the annual budget by Sept. 15.

Shelton has said the only change he’s likely to present will involve creating an in-house city attorney position to replace the bulk of city legal work contracted through the local firm Mitchell, McNutt & Sams, a move that he said could save the city money.

robbie.ward@journalinc.com