BY JANE CLARK SUMMERS

Daily Journal Corinth Bureau

CORINTH - To avoid raising taxes, Corinth's Board of Aldermen has adopted a budget that cut funding for some city-supported agencies 15-50 percent over last year.

The fiscal 2004 budget of $8,681,207, which takes effect Oct. 1, is down from the 2003 amended budget of $8,963,542.

Total millage remains the same at 95.2 mills. However, the general fund levy will increase by 2 mills, while the municipal bond fund will decline by the same amount.

Agencies receiving the largest cuts are the Crossroads Arena, which will go from $125,000 for personnel services to $62,500, and the Alliance, which is budgeted for $68,000, down from $80,000.

"We worked very hard on the budget," said Mayor Jerry Latch. "We tried to be fair to everybody. We hope the economy will turn around next year, and we will be able to fund the agencies as much as possible."

To help control costs, no employee pay raises are planned, and overtime will be limited, said City Clerk Vicki Roach.

Every department is working 2-6 people short now, the mayor said.

"We've cut as much as we can without cutting services," said Alderman Terrell Kingen.

The economy has affected cities, states and the federal government, Latch said. "It is not just Corinth. I've talked to mayors all over the state and they are just like us, the state and the federal government."

The Alcorn County tax assessor estimates the total value of city property at $79 million, about the same as in 2003, but the budget was figured conservatively on $70 million based on past experience with collections, Roach said.

One mill is expected to bring in about $70,000.

One mill is equal to $1 for each $1,000 of assessed property value.

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