DESOTO COUNTY, MS (abc24.com) - No tax increases. Raises for employees. DeSoto County's Board of Supervisors just passed next year's budget.
Citizens should be happy, they're not paying more. Employees should be happy, they're making more. It took cuts in several other places to make it happen, and the board looked at every nickel and dime in the budget.
"We've had to make a lot of hard decisions," says Supervisor Mark Gardner. "People elected us to keep their taxes low. We're able to keep taxes flat although we have extra expenses this year." Money for those extra expenses had to come from somewhere.
"We asked all departments and department heads to cut their budgets by 5%," Gardner tells abc24.com.
At just $104 million, balancing the budget took time.
"We cut funding for agencies that do a great job. They had to tighten their belts like we've had to tighten ours," says Gardner.
Cuts were made across the board, in just about every department.
Other agencies like DeSoto County's museum, arts council and women's shelter are also getting less money. Gardner says the board had two main goals: "A three percent raise for all county employees and fund the new jail about to open… When you add those expenses we have to make some cuts."
By law the budget had to be finalized by September 15. The 2013 fiscal year starts October 1.