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Aldermen Continue to Cut Budget to Avoid 2-Mill Tax Increase

By Alyssa Schnugg
Staff writer

The Oxford Board of Aldermen sat down Wednesday with proverbial magnifying glasses and scissors to clip away at the 2018-2019 budget in an attempt to avoid raising taxes by 2 mills.

During the public budget workshop, the aldermen and Mayor Robyn Tannehill came to the conclusion that taxes will have to go up; however, they are hoping to keep it under the 2 mills advertised earlier this week.

A public hearing will be held during the board’s regular meeting at 5 p.m. on Sept. 4 at City Hall.

If the aldermen decide to raise the ad valorem tax by 1 mill, a $200,000 home with homestead would pay $20 a year; without homestead would pay $30 a year. A 2-mill raise would essentially double those figures.

However, aldermen Wednesday were leaning toward a 1.5 mill raise.

The budget shows $30,624,000 in proposed expenses with $26,715,376 in projected revenue.

A 1-mill raise would cover the proposed budget but would not bring in enough revenue to cover several additional projects that were pulled from the budget to cut costs, like renovating a building for a new Oxford Police Department, renovations to the animal shelter building and other projects.

About 30 percent or $8.1 million of the city’s revenues come from ad valorem taxes.

The city also receives money from the 2 percent food and beverage tax and the annual payout from the Baptist investment. After bond payments are made from those funds, there will be about $661,000 to be used toward other projects; however, the city is limited in what it can use the 2 percent food and beverage tax on. It has to be related to tourism.

The aldermen are considering several projects and equipment purchases with the 2 percent tax including restrooms for the downtown parking garage, an early warning weather system for FNC Park and a small sweeper truck for the downtown area.

The proposed budget also includes a 1-percent cost of living wage increase for all city employees.

After Tuesday’s public meeting, another workshop will be held on the budget which will be voted on during a special meeting on Sept. 13 at City Hall.

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