The city of Ridgeland has finalized a budget of $23,395,714 for fiscal year 2021, which includes pay raises for firefighters, new vehicles for the police department and street overlay, all without increasing the millage rate.
The city has not increased the millage rate in more than 30 years.
Projected revenue for the upcoming fiscal year is $21,959,750, according to City Clerk Paula Tierce. The revenue and total expenditures are down from the previous year, which totaled $22,144,205 and $24,262,925, respectively.
Tierce attributed this is largely due to the economic impact of COVID-19.
“Due to COVID-19, we are projecting our revenue very conservatively,” she said. “However, we have been receiving more sales tax revenue than we originally estimated at the beginning of the pandemic.”
In turn, city departments identified ways to cut back in the upcoming fiscal year.
“All department heads have really tightened their belts,” Tierce said. “They evaluated every expenditure, and all expenditures have been fully justified.”
The year-end balance for the general fund will be $14,594,152, which is 62.38 percent of the anticipated expenditures for FY2021.
“This budget does contain a 3 percent increase for combat firefighters, $100,000 for new police vehicles and $1.5 million for street overlay,” Tierce said.
This will allow for the police department to replace six to seven vehicles.
“The three percent for firefighters for combat only,” Tierce said. “Last year, we implemented an increase over several years for the police department, in that we had said we would give three percent for firefighters over the next five years if the budget allowed. The aldermen did choose to go ahead with that this year.”
As for the $1.5 million for road projects, approximately $1 million will be for overlay of the streets identified in the city’s street repair plan. This plan prioritizes overlay based on need, with the streets in the worst shape being repaired first.
The remaining funds will be for curb and gutter repairs, along with other expenses associated with overlay.
Public Works Director Mike McCollum told the Sun in March that the city has begun using a new system to determine the shape of the city’s streets. Using that data, the city has crafted a road plan to address problem areas.
According to the 2020 street overlay plan, the city spent approximately $995,456.26 to cover six miles of Ridgeland streets in Dinsmor, Village Square, Trace Ridge, Old Agency, Richardson and Wendover areas and subdivisions.
The 2021 street overlay plan will cost a total of $987,771.58 to repave five miles of streets in Dinsmor, Montrachet, Lake Harbour, Gateway North and Hawthorn Green subdivisions and areas.