Tupelo's budget draft would reduce spending

By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – The city will spend an estimated $31.9 million next year to provide basic municipal services like police and fire protection, road maintenance and recreational activities, according to a budget draft presented this week by Mayor Jack Reed Jr.
The budget, which could change before its adoption next month, represents a 4.1 percent decrease from the fiscal year ending Sept. 30.
Nearly one-third of the money will fund the Police Department, whose salary expenses alone are projected to exceed $7 million. The department has the city’s largest staff with 79 certified officers and 20 office employees, but Maj. Anthony Hill said it will add about one dozen more next year.
Those currently unfilled positions already are in the department’s budget, which is tentatively set at $9.3 million total next year.
Public Works has the city’s second-largest budget at $6.4 million. Its staff maintains streets, drainage, rights of way, landscaping, traffic markings, and the city’s entire fleet of vehicles.
The Fire Department comes in third with an estimated $5.5 million budget.
Together, the three departments will require two-thirds of the city’s general fund money under the draft spending plan.
For every dollar the city plans to spend next year, it projects 57 cents will come from sales tax collections. Reed budgeted a 1 percent increase from the current fiscal year for an estimated $18.7 million.
Ad valorem taxes on real and personal property will bring in a projected $4.2 million next year, almost one-fifth less than the current year’s amount. Local grants, including $3.2 million from a tax on the city’s own utility department, will bring in an additional $4.2 million.
Together, those three revenue sources will generate 85 percent of the city’s general fund money under the draft spending plan.
The City Council must approve the next budget by Sept. 15. It goes into effect Oct. 1.
emily.lecoz@journalinc.com

Key Numbers
$31.9 million – Total general fund budget

$9.3 million – Police Department (largest expense)

57 percent – Portion of revenue derived from sales tax

For more details see today’s NEMS Daily Journal newspaper.