Poplarville to receive more tax funding

Published 7:00 am Friday, August 11, 2017

The Poplarville Board of Aldermen received some unexpected news Wednesday afternoon as they sat down to work on the 2018 budget.
City Clerk Jane O’Neal said she received a letter from the Mississippi Department of Revenue, which stated the city would receive a total of $11,650 each month in gasoline diversions during the next fiscal year.
That amounts to nearly $140,000 in additional revenue for the year, O’Neal said.
Department of Revenue Bureau Director of Sales Tax Veronica Smith said the department reviews gas distribution statewide on a yearly basis and compares what each city reported. Then, each city is given a percentage of the total gas tax collected. That percentage is reviewed every July and this year’s review led to Poplarville receiving an increase in the tax distribution next year, Smith said.
Last year, Poplarville received about $2,800 a month in gas diversions, Smith said.
With that added revenue, the city was able to balance the budget, set aside $72,000 to repair the Cumberland Street well and put $34,000 in the street fund for emergency repairs, O’Neal said.
The letter didn’t state whether the increased revenue would continue on a yearly basis, she said.
“But it appears to me it would be an ongoing revenue stream,” O’Neal said.
“If these sort of things continue then we can put them aside for infrastructure,” Alderwoman Anne Gendusa Smith said.
Even with the surplus in revenue, O’Neal said the Board decided not to hire an investigator for the police department this year.
The Board also reduced the number of new police radio radios from 15 to 10 in an effort to save $5,000, she said.
However, the Board did approve the purchase of two new patrol vehicles.
Mayor Rossie Creel said hiring an investigator would be a top priority for the following budget year. If the same funds are available through the gas tax diversion, that money could be used to fund the position, he said.
The Board also approved a payroll increase for the staff of the Poplarville Fire Department so Chief Jonathan Head can hire an assistant chief to help with administrative duties.
Creel said the Board also added another part time position at the department to help with calls during school hours.
O’Neal said an additional $8,000 was added to the water fund budget for the purchase of a wet well transducer and liquid level controller.
“I think we got a lot accomplished in the budget process a lot easier than anyone anticipated,” Creel said, calling the extra revenue a “Godsend.”
While having some extra cushion in the budget was their goal, Creel said, “for it to happen in our very first year, someone’s looking out for us and did our city a favor.”
Creel said the budget will be placed on the agenda for Tuesday’s regular Board meeting and he expects it to be approved.
“It’s very pleasant to be that successful with budget planning and to be able to get all of that done that fast,” Creel said.

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About Julia Arenstam

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