NEW HOULKA -- Houlka aldermen earlier this year passed a budget showing $835,700 in total projected revenue, with no tax increases, that includes pay raises for town officials and employees.
The new budget for FY 2021-22 took effect Friday, Oct. 1 for the 1.2 square-mile, north Chickasaw County town, which has a population of about 630 people.
Aldermen voted to set the tax levy at 46.25 mills during a special meeting Sept. 14. The action means there will not be a tax increase for the FY 2021-22 budget for the Town of New Houlka, town officials said.
Of the total $835,700 budget, 13.2 percent --which is $110,000 -- is proposed to be financed through the ad valorem tax levy, town officials said.
The 2020-21 budget showed a projected budget revenue of $778,029, with 14.1 percent -- or $110,000 -- to be obtained through the ad valorem tax levy.
On Sept. 27, aldermen voted to approve the 2021/2022 budget with all additions.
The additions include:
1) Twenty-five percent of the cost of a new police truck with the remaining 75% of the cost to be funded by a grant from USDA.
2) A $1 per hour for all nine employees of the Town of New Houlka. Their last pay raise came about three years ago, town officials said.
3) Raising the Board of Aldermen’s pay from $175 to $250 per month.
4) Raising the mayor’s pay from $466 to $550 per month. It has been over 13 years since the last pay raise for the mayor ands aldermen, according to town officials.
In an era of rising costs, the town was able to provide the raises, without a tax increase, due to several reasons, Town Clerk Janie Tutor said this week.
“We’ve been very frugal, and we watched the budget very closely, getting back on track from where we were seven years ago. We’ve made do with what we have. We haven’t bought any new equipment or vehicles until we purchased the new police truck, and we got a grant for 75 percent of that,” she said.