Monday, November 23, 2020

Oxford Aldermen Approve $37M Budget

By Alyssa Schnugg
News Editor

The Oxford Board of Aldermen approved its $37 million budget Thursday during a special called meeting. By state law, the budget must be approved 15 days before the start of the fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.

Residents of the city of Oxford will not see an increase in the city’s millage rate, which will remain at 31.22

The projected revenues, which come from fines, forfeits, governmental services, license and permits, ad valorem taxes and sales taxes, is projected to be $37,052,595 with $3,882,169 in cash on hand expected to be rolled over from this year’s budget. Expenses are projected to be $37,052,595 which includes a 1.5 cost of living raise for all full-time city employees, excluding the mayor and aldermen.

Taxes bring in the most revenue with $10,600,441 projected for 2020. Ad valorem taxes are expected to bring in $8,696,949 and sales tax should bring in $10 million. Some other revenue sources include water and sewer bills, licenses and permits, recycling and the city’s swimming pool.

The biggest chunk of change out of the budget goes to the Oxford Police Department that submitted a budget of $7.9 million that included purchasing seven new vehicles and outfitting all officers with body cams and tasers. The Fire Department has a $7.5 million budget that includes a new fire station in Oxford Commons. The Highways and Streets Department has a $3.7 million budget.

The city also gains funds from the 2 percent food and beverage tax that helps to fund projects and departments that focus on bringing tourism to Oxford. This year the projected revenue from the 2 percent tax is $3 million. Of that, $463,465 goes to Visit Oxford and $616,683 goes to FNC Park. The Double Decker Arts Festival is set to receive $110,000. The 2 percent tax will also help purchase vehicles to keep the downtown Square pristine, like a new sweeper for the parking garage and a litter getter. This year, the Board also budgeted $40,000 for public art projects and $70,000 toward the turfing of Quad C at FNC Park.

Revenues from the earnings off the city’s $30 million Baptist fund, about $900K, will be used for a variety of projects as well, including repairs to sidewalks, intersection improvements, ADA accessibility projects and traffic calming measures. About $500,000 will be put into an escrow for a new city swimming pool in the future. Some of the Baptist funds are also used to make bond payments – loans taken out to finance past city projects.

A public hearing was held on Sept. 3. There was no public comment.

The entire budget can be viewed online on the city’s website.