The Bay St. Louis City Council last week approved a roughly $41 million budget for the upcoming fiscal year — up from $29 million the previous year — without raising millage.
“The general fund budget decreased from $12.8 million to $11.5 million,” City Clerk Michael Reso said this week. “There is no tax increase or decrease in mill rates for FY23,” meaning that residents will not pay more than in the current year, unless the assessed value of their property has increased for the new fiscal year.
Total projected revenues for the 2022-23 fiscal year are $41,586,112. Of that amount, 10.90 percent, or $4,530,813, is proposed to be financed through a total ad valorem tax levy.
Millage rates apply only to the general fund, Reso said.
Total projected expenditures for the new fiscal year are $40,955,208.
The total tax levy for FY2023 will be 69.05 mills, which includes 22.39 mills for the general fund; 2.23 mills for the 2020 G.O. Public Improvement bond; 1.20 mills for the 2016 G.O. Public Improvement Road bond; .93 mills for the city-county public library fund; 1.20 mills for the school three mill note; and 41.10 mills for the school district maintenance fund.
Several other funds and projects account for the increased budget, Reso said, including the new police station/public safety complex currently under construction on Main Street.
“Most expenses (for the police department) will be paid in FY 23,” Reso said. “We have income grants at $2.5 million plus other funds that have already been moved into the fund by the city.”
Other funds/projects include:
• Capital Lease Fund, $1.3 million. Reso said “if the city needs to buy equipment for the various departments, this would be done through a lease purchase.”
• Municipal Reserve Fund, $8 million, for “all of the projects in the city with grants and matching funds,” Reso said.
• ARPA Funds, $3,450,000. Reso said the city received these grant funds in FY21 and FY22 and plans to spend them in FY23. “This is what we are hoping to get a matching grant from the state (for) to double the project,” Reso said.
• Harbor Construction Note, $1.8 million. “The city has this short-term loan for the repairs to the harbor” after hurricane damage, Reso said. “This will be paid using FEMA reimbursement, which could take a while to actually receive those funds.”
• Harbor Grants and Special Projects, $2.5 million, for expansion of the facility. The money came to the city through the Tidelands grant program, Reso said.
The new fiscal year in Bay St. Louis will see “lots of great projects using mostly grant funds in the city,” Reso said.
Also in last week’s meeting, council members voted to approve a resolution authorizing “premium pay” for certified firefighters and law enforcement officers. The resolution acknowledges the state legislature’s “Mississippi Law Enforcement and Firefighters Premium Pay Program,” which will provide premium payments to all eligible law enforcement officers and firefighters serving in Mississippi during the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding was made possible by the national Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund established by the American Rescue Plan act.
The Mississippi Department of Public Safety will work with the city to administer payments.