Council Delays Budget Band-Aid | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Council Delays Budget Band-Aid

The Jackson City Council voted to hold items in the Monday Budget Committee meeting, including a vote to refinance the city's debt. The refinancing would give the city enough to cover its $3.9 million budget deficit, but cost the city about $110,000 in fees and dump higher interest rates upon the city over the next 10 years. Council members say they want to see the administration's alternatives to the debt refinancing before moving ahead with approving the move.

City Director of Administration Rick Hill said alternatives, such as cuts to city services, could be more serious than ever before.

"… We've cut so much already (in the last 10 years) that, in my professional opinion, there's no other place to go but payroll. To cut the budget to the level without this restructuring … you're cutting into the staff in a significant way. You're talking about cutting out some services entirely. If we don't do this restructuring… We will have to have a layoff. … We cannot fund our work force with the revenues we have," Hill said.

But debt-leery council members like Leslie McLemore insist on knowing exactly what kinds of cuts are on the chopping block.

"Rick has said a lot of people would have to go home, but I would like to know exactly how many. How much further to the bone can we go? … Does it mean sending 200 people home? Does it mean not hiring the 60-odd people they were hiring in Public Works?" McLemore asked, referring to the mayor's recent priority to hire minors to cut grass and perform routine maintenance. "… How are we going to fund the mayor's priorities within the context where we are now seems, to me, is the discussion that we ought to be having, because I don't want to leave this debt on somebody else."

Hill had been prepared to offer a rough estimate on the potential cuts to the city, but Chief Administration Officer Robert Walker stopped Hill before he could drop an answer, saying the administration would be better prepared to offer numbers later in the week.

Expecting more information from the mayor's office, the Council Budget Committee set a new meeting on Thursday at 3 p.m. to discuss details.

The clock is ticking, however. State law demands the city's budget be balanced by the end of September.

Previous Comments

ID
94748
Comment

Hill had been prepared to offer a rough estimate on the potential cuts to the city, but Chief Administration Officer Robert Walker stopped Hill before he could drop an answer, saying the administration would be better prepared to offer numbers later in the week. Don't we have a 2008 Budget to work on before October? How can we be so upside down for this year? Something isn't right?

Author
pikersam
Date
2007-08-20T16:44:43-06:00
ID
94749
Comment

All of this sounds a bit scary. I wonder who would get laid off.

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2007-08-20T16:59:17-06:00
ID
94750
Comment

What is interesting is the fact that this Administration continues to make this a Ditto/Johnson Administration problem. When frank melton was buzzing around in the Commant Unit and strutting with his two body guards (paid 24/7 and who for over a year lived on the Mobile Command Unit). This operation alone cost tax payers $1,000.00/ day. There were people laughing and saying "Let the mayor do his job." Any city can have budget woes; however, ours are secondary to mismanagement. The joke is on the taxpayers of Jackson. What happened to all of the BIG PLANS for the City of Jackson. What happened to all of the wealthy relationships from TX who made promises, according to the liar, to bring economic development and venues that would make Jackson the most outstanding City in the country. The gig is up and it is time to pay the piper. Let the first round of employee cuts include SORE, melton, Reeves, Redd, Anderson, Ward, Body Guards, and Hiccombottom(sp)

Author
justjess
Date
2007-08-21T09:09:32-06:00
ID
94751
Comment

Jackson is being flushed straight down the toilet, by this administration and the gang. I can still see the un-informed ones saying leave Frank along. Let him do his job. Frank, Stokes and Blunston and the other nuts, agenda for this city is nothing but pure disgrace. Sometimes I wonder what their education levels are, the grammar is poor, the action is shameful and these men’s are nothing but nuts. How can any one in their right mind, see any goodness being performed. Now we have come to a point where the little man will be without a jobs, it is evident that the high paid do nothing will keep their positions. What has happen no development, no protection just absolutely nothing. I'm like the people in the surrounding cities, let's watch this one unfold!

Author
BJM
Date
2007-08-21T19:05:21-06:00
ID
94752
Comment

BJM we had a plan. Here it is. We would have been working on a similar plan as late as last year for the next 5 years had Melton not thrown this one out the window, much like he did that $250,000 a year from UMC for fire and police protection. Sure miss that money now don't we? Now this plan doesn't account for the rapid increase in fuel, so we would have taken a hit earlier. But, this plan financed payroll without layoffs, police up to about 550, and money for infrastructure with a slated tax increase of 1 mil. sometime around now. Yet, now we've given the City a 2 mil increase under the guise of better police protection that hasn't worked, and we are now in the hole $3.9 million with another tax raise looming for this next year. Thing is I don't think they have anything even remotely like this for the City's future. He manages day to day with no long term vision.

Author
pikersam
Date
2007-08-21T19:42:46-06:00
ID
94753
Comment

I’m just going to make sure that Home Depot is stocked with toilets, because the signs are clear, toliet bound with no recovery. I was never fooled by the wolf tickets, because it is only when you are placed in the positions that you see that the tickets you were advocating are worth nothing. There is order to everything in politics and the judicial system. I just say don’t be fooled, it does not matter who is in the seat, there are rules that must be followed and you can’t just change the course because it’s you. I say we needs leaders that have a relationship with God, and then and only then will the decisions that they make allow them to sleep at night. Knowing that they have done the right thing, and the pillow that their head is resting on is not bricks. Harvey Johnson left a lot of opportunity on the table for this administration to continue, and they felled. Another sign of lack of qualifications and skills in addition to lack of morals, standards, values and like the word says ‘money is the root of a lot of evil.’

Author
BJM
Date
2007-08-21T20:06:56-06:00
ID
94754
Comment

Now we can see what happens when you throw the baby out with the bathwater. Eveything Harvey did was scratched or changed. He is a professional planner so why not use the knowledge he left the city to advance. Sour grapes and just plain ignorance from the new administration. meltonheads need to read the plan if they could and see what a real Mayor does to try and save the city.

Author
jada
Date
2007-08-21T21:48:26-06:00
ID
94755
Comment

DITTO jada. This is what happens when "others" elect a "mouth" rather than a "brain". You can say what you want, but at least Harvey kept the city's finances on track and represented this city in a professional manner befitting the position of mayor. I didn't buy the wolf tickets either. And how long have they've been dragging their feet on this budget, they have known for months, if not a year, that the city was facing a deficit. Plzzzz

Author
lanier77
Date
2007-08-22T08:55:40-06:00
ID
94756
Comment

Melton is saying that he hired two IRS investigators to look into the City's finances and they uncovered a $34 million deficit in 2003/04 that Melton himself go down to just $5 million. He gave all this information to the City Council on Tuesday. O RLY? Any council members care to respond?

Author
pikersam
Date
2007-08-23T07:50:45-06:00
ID
94757
Comment

This is on Larry's show.... Now they are saying Melton is a godsend to the children who skip school and homeless children. Awww... Now he's saying he put a child in school that was living in an SUV after Hurricane Katrina. Now Melton thinks he can get a bunch of homeless to fix up an apartment, and he's back on the cutting grass crap. Larry is a patsy for letting him get away with this, especially the Budget lies. Oh yeah, Melton says our Budget is balanced.

Author
pikersam
Date
2007-08-23T07:54:31-06:00
ID
94758
Comment

Now he's going to lock up the Daddy's. Please, mayor show us your budget chart that goes back to 2000.

Author
pikersam
Date
2007-08-23T07:56:17-06:00
ID
94759
Comment

Oh yeah, BTW: I do not necessarily want the $45,000 SORE got from my pocket going to a "benevolent fund" like her church or Boys and Girls club. I want the money so I can decide what I am spending it on! What a lying ass!

Author
pikersam
Date
2007-08-23T08:01:35-06:00
ID
94760
Comment

BTW: Who paid for his IRS investigators? Him? Right! If so, then that would probably be illegal? Can a citizen hire a company to investigate the City like that? I mean the average citizen wouldn't have access to the files like he does.

Author
pikersam
Date
2007-08-23T08:18:42-06:00
ID
94761
Comment

I heard it pike. One word: delusional

Author
Cliff Cargill
Date
2007-08-23T08:33:21-06:00

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