Tupelo council works on $32 million FY2013 budget

By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – It takes a lot of money to keep a municipality of 618 employees running. Nearly $32 million, in the case of Tupelo.
Leaders in Northeast Mississippi’s largest city are poring over the details of their proposed Fiscal Year 2013 budget for general operations. It must be adopted by mid September and goes into effect Oct. 1.
The budget includes those services most people associate with municipal government – street repair, park maintenance, firefighting, misdemeanor court hearings and the like. But it also funds the not-so-visible aspect of running a business, which the city is.
Salaries, health insurance, office supplies, utilities and gas for on-the-job travel are among the costs tapping a majority of Tupelo’s general fund budget.
In the next fiscal year, the city will spend nearly $17.5 million on salaries, including full-time and part-time employees, as well as the anticipated overtime pay inherent with some positions.
That doesn’t include federal payroll tax, unemployment, workers’ compensation or Medicare.
Nor does it include the salaries and benefits of an additional 497 full-time and part-time workers in the Convention and Visitors Bureau, BancorpSouth Coliseum or Tupelo Water & Light – all of whom are considered city employees but whose salaries and benefits derive from separate budgets.
The city’s total workforce, then, is 1,115 employees.
But for the more than 600 whose paychecks come from the general budget, the city also will contribute an estimated $2.1 million toward their state retirement fund, about $2 million for group health insurance.
The city owns numerous properties for which it must pay utilities. Seven fire stations, two police buildings, Municipal Court, a Parks and Recreation building, the Oren Dunn City Museum, a Public Works office and shop, City Hall, and several athletic fields and recreational centers.
In all, it will spend an estimated $876,800 to keep those facilities either lit, heated, cooled, hooked up to running water, or all of the above.
It will spend an additional $711,400 on fuel for its fleet of vehicles – squad cars, fire trucks, work vehicles, lawnmowers, heavy equipment and others. And it will spend about $110,000 to maintain that fleet.
Telephones and travel will cost roughly $119,000 each; office supplies $81,500; and advertising $31,000.
emily.lecoz@journalinc.com

Chart of budget expenditures in today’s NEMS Daily Journal newspaper.