Skipper: "We're on Track"

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City clerk Ed Skipper projected a modest increase in sales tax for the city of Meridian in 2003.

"Year to date we're on track for our budget. We're above projection and somewhat around four or five percent and around five percent compared with last year," Skipper said.

But he said the rest of the year may well be determined by the Christmas season sales tax refund check the city will receive the third week of February.

"We're watching it and monitoring it and currently we're okay," Skipper said. "The big check we'll receive this month is the biggest one for the year and represents those December sales so we're anxiously looking for these numbers and that will give us a good indication of how to approach the balance of the year."

Mayor John Robert Smith said that, despite the positive numbers the city will continue to be fiscally cautious.

"That's why you will see in our spending, our discretionary spending and capital spending, is generally deferred to the end of the year so that we will know what our revenue is before we go out and obligate ourself for big ticket items before we see a true trend in sales tax collections," said Smith.

The mayor said the city still plans a $5 million bond issue in order to upgrade the city's streets.