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Oxford expected to pass rollback rate

OXFORD -- The Oxford City Council is expected to approve the rollback millage rate at a special called meeting Monday.

The city announced at its monthly meeting earlier this month that officials are proposing a 7.85 rate, or the rollback rate.

It is a small increase from the rate last year, 7.60 mills. It was 5.33 mills in 2008, 5.51 in 2009, 6.28 in 2010 and 7.06 in 2011.

Even with the increases, the net tax collections have decreased from just under 1 percent to 5.5 percent per year over the last five years. Oxford Mayor Jerry Roseberry said that the digest has dropped 48 percent since 2008.

The city is expected to collect $7,060 less this year, a more than 5.5 percent decrease from the previous year.

Even so, "The city has been very conservative with its money, and we're in pretty good shape financially, but that could change rapidly," Roseberry said. "You have to be careful."

Last month, the council passed a $4.5 million budget, which Roseberry said was routine. He said 53 percent of the revenues come from tax revenues, and the rest of the budget is made up of fees and tax transfers like water, electricity and sanitation.

The budget included the purchase of a replacement police vehicle for $31,000; the city is operating with four police officers.

The city also employes about a dozen employees, as well as temporary workers.

The city is expected to fund $50,000 toward a pedestrian bridge that will better connect Oxford to Covington over Interstate 20; it is 20 percent of the cost, which also is funded with a grant from the Department of Transportation. Roseberry expects it to be completed within the next year.

The city also wants to expand sidewalks north on Emory Street and west on Moore Street.

"We want to make it easy as possible for citizens to walk," Roseberry said. "A lot of people come into Oxford to walk."

The city also is exploring upgrading utilities to have a smart reader system that will allow turn on and turn off controls to be operating from city hall.

The city council is expected to meet at 6 p.m. Monday at Oxford City Hall to vote on a millage rate.