City of Brookhaven proposes $17M budget, no tax increase

Published 10:00 am Saturday, August 28, 2021

The City of Brookhaven has proposed a $17 million budget for the 2021-2022 Fiscal Year.

Although the 2020-2021 budget was $13,134,950, the new increase of nearly $4 million dollars will not come at the expense of raised taxes.

Receipt of a $2.239 million federal grant, a $150,000 increase in projected rent revenues and the carry-over of $1.18 million more than the previous year makes up the majority of the difference between the budgets.

The City will not increase taxes. Millage will remain the same. Mills will increase in value, however, due to increased property assessment values.

“The evaluation has gone up, but the City is not increasing millage or taxes,” said Mayor Joe Cox.

“Twenty-five percent of the county is appraised by my staff each year, so that every four years the entire county is appraised,” said Lincoln County Tax Assessor Blake Pickering. “Then whatever value we place on the property is subject to an index that either increases or decreases the property value based off the local market.”

Millage rates are then what is owed by the property owner per $1,000 of assessed value.

“We are responsible for ensuring that taxation is fair to everyone,” Pickering said.

The proposed budget was discussed and amended by the Board of Aldermen over the course of several meetings, and a public hearing was advertised in the news media and public bulletin boards for the budget on Thursday. No one from the public attended.

The FY2021-2022 proposed budget includes a 2% increase in pay for all city employees with the exception of elected positions. Those salaries will remain the same.

“They haven’t had a pay increase in a long time,” said Ward 2 Alderman Shannon Moore.

A pay increase is also included for non-certified police officers who become certified.

“We’re trying to keep our young officers here,” Brookhaven Police Chief Kenneth Collins said during a budget meeting. “I’m glad we made a first step in attracting young officers. It’s a start.”

The proposed budget is a working document, meaning it can be amended prior to the final vote of the Board of Aldermen, which will take place during the board’s next regular scheduled meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 7. At 6:30 p.m.

The complete proposed budget can be found here (page 1), here (page 2), here (page 3), here (page 4) and here (page 5).