In recent weeks, Ridgeland officials have been conducting work sessions to review the current fiscal year budget for each department in preparation for the 2018 fiscal year.
So far, the city has set aside $1 million for street overlay, while no pay raises have been placed in the budget.
“We have a five-year overlay plan, which public works updates each year to be sure that the streets that need it most get overlaid,” Mayor Gene McGee said. “We have about $1 million in the street overlay budget.”
McGee said the city is not planning any major expenditures through the general fund, but the city has several capital projects in the works.
The capital projects include the Lake Harbour Drive extension project, the first phase of the new city center and city hall, the County Line Road and the east Lake Harbour Drive mill and overlay projects, as well as the south Highland Colony Parkway.
Once the Lake Harbour Drive extension project is complete, Lake Harbour Drive will stretch an extra two miles from its current intersection with Highway 51. It will run over the interstate to the corner of New Point Drive and Highland Colony Parkway. The $26 million project has an estimated construction timeline of 12 to 18 months.
Officials anticipate the Ridgeland city center costing approximately $42 million.
The County Line Road mill and overlay project will cost a total of $1.35 million, which will be split equally between Ridgeland and Jackson ($675,000 each).
The east Lake Harbour Drive mill and overlay will cost a total of $2.3 million. The city will mill, overlay, restripe, and upgrade traffic signals from Breaker’s Lane to Northpark Drive. City officials said the city has already received a $1.7 million grant from the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), and that overall, only $425,000 will come from local funds.
City officials have estimated the Highland Colony Parkway project to cost approximately $425,000, “which is out to bid and should be done in the 2018 budget year,” McGee aid.
Even with lawsuits last year between the city and the Department of Housing and Urban Development because of apartment amortization, McGee said the city’s reserve fund remains strong.
“The Reserve fund has not gone below our policy and continues to be strong,” he said. “Through conservative spending, we have never done anything to hurt our fund balance. In fact, it is one of the strongest in the state.”
Although city officials and administrators will not receive pay raises for the 2018 fiscal year, McGee said sales tax should be level and property taxes should increase.
“We are projecting sales tax to be level and we are projecting a 3 percent property tax growth.”
City officials have been holding work sessions to detail the budget for the next fiscal year. A public hearing for the budget will be held on Tuesday, September 5.
“Typically, we have work sessions at the very beginning to look at the broad parameters of the coming year, to see where we are,” Ward 1 Alderman Ken Heard said. “We get to good starting place by the time of the public hearing and listen to comments from people who want to give us input.”
Heard said city officials then have a final opportunity to confirm the budget in the last meeting of September.
“We’re going through budget process now,” McGee said. “We went through several departments last (week) and (had) a work session Tuesday. We’re going through the departments and seeing if anything needs to be added or deleted. That’s where we are.”
Each fiscal year ends on September 31 of the current year, and the next fiscal year begins the next day on October 1.
(Fiscal year 2017 began October 1, 2016, and will end on September 31. Fiscal year 2018 will begin on October 1, 2017, and end September 31, 2018.)