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The city budget:  it’s only a thousand lines

The New Albany Board of Aldermen will hold a public hearing about its proposed 2015-2016 fiscal year budget at its regular monthly meeting Tuesday, Sep. 1, 2015.

The proposed budget calls for no increase in property taxes, but does anticipate additional revenue from sales and tourism taxes.

During the fiscal year that will end September 30, 2015, the city expects to receive $3.08-million in sales taxes remitted to it by the State of Mississippi. The budget for next fiscal year anticipates sales tax revenues of $3.2-million.

Revenue increases are anticipated

The general New Albany city budget for FY2015-2016 anticipates revenue of about $6.5-million. In addition to the expected increase in state sales taxes to $3.2 million, there are several other revenue sources.

Tourism tax collections have shown substantial gains over the last couple of years, and further increases from this revenue stream are anticipated in next year’s budget. Tourism taxes for the current fiscal year were budgeted to be $678-thousand dollars, but the actual tourism tax collections for the year have exceeded the budgeted amount by $28-thousand, 4.3% percent better than what was budgeted.

Tourism tax collections for FY 2015-2016 are budgeted to be $700-thousand, an increase of 3.3% over actual collections this year.  Visitors drawn to New Albany by the Tanglefoot Trail and growth in hospitality related businesses are credited with the improved tourism tax revenue.

The city-owned New Albany Lights, Gas and Water (NALGW) utility operation brought in $1.75-million in positive cash flow this year, and a similar amount from NALGW is anticipated in the FY 2015-2016 budget.

There are about 40 other revenue sources flowing into the city coffers, ranging from yard sale permits to ABC alcohol taxes to zoning fees and building permits.

Other major income sources for New Albany include:

–Approximately $335-thousand in fees and fines from the municipal court.

–An “in-lieu-of’ payment of $135-thousand from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)

Franchise fees from cable television operator MaxxSouth and NEMS Electric Power are budgeted to total $40-thousand in the coming fiscal year

Franchise fees from the cable television operator have declined steadily during the last five years, as the cable system lost subscribers, and the revenue on which franchise fees are collected declined. MaxSouth’s declining subscriber numbers are a part of a national trend, as most cable systems around the US have lost subscribers in the 21st century.

Few anticipated changes in expenditures

On the expense side of the ledger there are few significant changes in the Fiscal Year 2015-2016 proposed budget for the City of New Albany.

Across the board, city employees will receive wage and salary increases of about three percent over the actual amounts they have been paid during the current year. The actual amounts may vary a tenth of one percent either way from the three percent average.

The five members of the city’s board of aldermen will receive a 2.7% increase over their earnings in the current year.

The mayor and municipal judge will earn 2.9% more in the next fiscal year. Most city department heads will receive a 3% increase over their actual earnings in the current year.

One new appropriation for the coming fiscal year is $6,100 to rent a building for municipal court operations.

“The devil,” it is said, “is in the details.” Those who want to know more about the income and expenses of the city government should review the city budget line-by-line.

By our count it’s only a little more than 1,000 lines on an Excel spreadsheet.

Comments or Questions? Leave them in the space below.

 

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