Jackson officials approve budget after major cuts

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) — Jackson City leaders have approved a new budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

However, they had to do it by making some major cuts. Property taxes will also go up by 3 mils.

Councilman Melvin Priester Jr, who is the Budget and Finance Chair, presented several of the amendments that the council passed.

Some of the amendments presented were in an effort to save as many positions and services as possible.

Council members De’Keither Stamps and Kenneth Stokes opposed the changes.

Some of the changes proposed were to cut down on air and ground travel for every department.

They also decided to cut some of the benefits, personal services, and the salaries for the Mayor’s Office, Chief Administrative Officer’s Office, and the Legal Department.

We’re told that it would add up to a $300,000 reduction for those departments.

Mayor Tony Yarber tried to fight those cuts. He said he already cut nearly $200,000 this budget cycle for his office.

However, the council said the cuts were unavoidable.

We’re told that $150,000 was set aside for outside legal counsel for the lawsuits pending against the city.

Another cut was made to the City Clerk’s Office. They received a budget for $45,000 less that this year. Last year, they were cut by $110,000.

One of the issues discussed during the budget hearing was the shortfall in the collection of paid fines and tickets. We’re told that in the past three years, the city has issued about $50.7 million in tickets and fines. Out of that amount, only about $11 million has been collected.

Some closures will also have to take place which include a senior center, an early childhood development center, and a golf course.

Mayor Tony Yarber, of the City of Jackson, released the following statement about the 2017 fiscal year budget:

The Jackson City Council on Tuesday, Sept. 13, passed a budget for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, 2016. The plan includes a number of measures required to address the City’s forecasted decline in revenue. Those measures include a millage increase by 3.00 mills, spending reductions and departmental restructuring and reorganization. Before adopting the budget, the City Council amended the proposed budget to make additional cuts to the Mayor’s Office, but not to the City Council or the City Clerk’s Office. As a result of the Council’s action, the City of Jackson’s PEG Network will not be funded in the upcoming fiscal year. The budget approved by the Council also will result in the closure of the Grove Park Golf Course.

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