Ridgeland is in the midst of about a 30-year run without raising taxes after the mayor and board approved a $24.46 million budget for Fiscal 2020.

Budget highlights include raises citywide and about half a million in earmarked capital expenditures.

Mayor Gene F. McGee took a moment after approve to note another year without raising taxes.

“This marks 30-something years with the same tax millage,” McGee said.

The board again approved an order to levy tax millage at 11.27 for the general fund and 8.76 for the debt service fund and a total of 20.03 mills.

For McGee, holding the line on taxes has been a point of pride and a key point when listing his accomplishments.

The Budget includes an estimated revenue of $22,144,205, with estimated expenditures at $24,464,925. The estimated beginning general fund balance is $16,347,142 and is expected to be at $14,026,422 by the end of FY 2020. City Clerk Paula Tierce noted that these are conservative estimates.

“Please note that we always estimate revenue very conservative and expenditures high in order to prevent department heads having to ask for budget amendments,” Tierce said. “Historically, there is approximately $1 million that were budgeted expenditures that was not spent.”

The city will have a reserve that is 57.33% of the General Fund Balance, which Tierce described as “rare for any municipality.”

The budget includes the other half of the pay adjustment started in FY 2019 for police officers pay. 

Raises will be distributed based on job performance. In addition, firefighters are receiving a three-percent increase. Full-time city employees will also see a 2.5 percent bump in pay.

The mayor’s salary was increased to $96,000 — a $1,701 increase — and the Aldermen’s to $21,147, which is 22% of the mayor’s salary.

The increase for Aldermen was $2,300.  

Officials have not received a pay increase since 2016.

Tierce noted that this is based on a trend observed in some other cities putting aldermen compensation at between 20 and 25 percent of the mayor’s pay.

Public Works has a new maintenance worker in their budget.

The budget includes $575,441 in capital expenditures, which are one time expenses.

Some key expenditures include a new K9 unit and six new vehicles for the Police Department and an air life system for the Fire Department. 

Officials are also looking to invest $1.2 million in street overlays.

Other significant capital projects set for next fiscal year include the ongoing Lake Harbour Drive Extension, improvements at Freedom Ridge and Wolcott Park and the $15 million City Center Project. These projects will largely be paid for through the more than $19 million in bonds the city has issued.