RIDGELAND — Aldermen approved a new budget that will include pay raises and new street sweeping and mosquito control services without raising taxes, marking over three decades in a row with no tax increase.

After no one signed up for the public hearing Tuesday night, Mayor Gene F. McGee closed the public hearing and City Clerk Paula Tierce submitted the 2019 final budget to the city board for approval.

A key item of the budget includes a three-percent pay increase for the fire department, a five-percent pay increase for the Ridgeland Police Department and a two-percent raise for all city employees — excluding the Mayor, Board of Aldermen and part-time staff.

The budget includes a projected $17,000 increase, just over what the city paid in chemicals itself, to contract out mosquito spraying to the tune of $120,000 and a contract to lease a street sweeper, bringing those responsibilities in-house.

The board also approved an order to levy tax millage at 11.27 for the general fund and 8.76 for the debt service fund.

“I am proud to say that this will be another year where we have not had to raise millage. We have not had to raise taxes in 30 years or something like that,” McGee said.

On paper, the budget is expected to dip into the reserve fund for deficit spending. The city expects to bring in just over $22 million in revenue and has expenditures projected at just over $23 million.

Early models project the general fund balance is expected to decrease from $15,726,639 to $14,157,235, just under $1.6 million, during the FY 2019 budget.

Alderman-at-Large D.I. Smith made no comments Tuesday evening but is on record expressing concerns with yet another year of dipping into reserves by spending more than the city is taking in.

Tierce noted that that projected revenues did not include online sales tax that the Legislature has pledged to return to the municipalities.

Items of note included a projected $1.6 million in court fees, $200,000 less than they spent in FY 2018. Over the last couple of years the city has been embroiled in costly litigation over the Costco development on Highland Colony Parkway and separate litigation involving apartment complexes in the city.

Ward 6 Alderman Wesley Hamlin thanked city staff for their “hard work” in preparing the new budget before motioning for a vote.

“They have done a great job,” McGee said.

Ward 2 Alderman Chuck Gautier said that he seconded both Hamlin’s sentiment and motion for a vote before the budget was passed unanimously.