Major cuts to City of Jackson’s budget means closures and job loss

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – There are major cuts coming to the City of Jackson after the 2017 budget was approved and that means even more job losses are coming as well.

Some city leaders aren’t happy about it.

Tempers were flaring as those tough decisions were being made. The budget was already balanced, but some city leaders saw the need for even deeper cuts.

“All in favor? All opposed? Item passes.”

A contentious budget meeting for the City of Jackson Tuesday morning.

“Yes you can!” said Councilman Ashby Foote, Ward 1, of the Jackson City Council.

“No you cannot,” said Mayor Tony Yarber of the City of Jackson.

“Yes you can!” said Councilman Foote.

Mayor Tony Yarber fought back against a move to cut more funding for the city, including his department.

“It’s unfortunate today. They had a budget before them which was balanced and complied with state law. Which also kept a level of services where we end the department directors believed would be sound,” said Mayor Yarber.

Amendments to the city budget were presented by Councilman Melvin Priester, the budget and finance chair.

Mayor Yarber questioned why the council and clerks’ office weren’t facing any additional cuts.

“Look the city has a budget deficit. We don’t have a lot of good options,” said Councilman Priester.

“It’s a tough decision. It really, really is, but it is a decision in which we were placed in a position to have to make,” said Councilman Tyrone Hendrix, Ward 6, of the Jackson City Council.

The changes call for a reduction in air and ground travel for all departments by 60 percent, a cut in funding for a city golf course, and another round of cuts to the mayor’s office and the city’s legal department.

Those reductions are to the tune of $100,000 for each.

WJTV was told those changes could result in more job cuts.

“The mayor’s office, we have cut probably a total of six people since I have been in the mayor’s office. We recently cut three. They are asking the mayor’s office to make additional cuts, that’s not happening across the board,” said Mayor Yarber.

“We did the best we could with what we have. It is a terrible budget year. We had absolutely no choice, but to make some very serious cuts,” said Margaret Barret-Simon, Ward 7, of the Jackson City Council.

Leaders also talked about other ways to collect money beyond the cuts.

Including a $39,000,000 shortfall in collections from fines, and fees in the city.

The plan through these cuts is to save program like AmeriCorps, which would have lost its funding.

 

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