Public will get to see city budget

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Vicksburg residents will get a look at the city’s proposed $31.42 million fiscal year 2018 budget when the Board of Mayor and Aldermen present it at a public hearing Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at the City Hall Annex on Walnut Street.

“The good news about this budget is that we are not raising taxes,” Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said. “Other cities and the county have raised property taxes. We haven’t raised the taxes in five years.”

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The city’s present millage rate is 35.88 mills.

“We’re going to have a balanced budget,” Flaggs said. “We’re going to stay at 97 percent, and we’re going to look to increase our bond rating because we had a good audit report.”

A proposed 3 percent pay raise for employees has been removed from the budget.

Flaggs announced the raise, which he promised in July, was pulled because of a shortfall in the city’s health insurance, which is self-insured.

The board learned of the insurance deficit in August, and on Aug. 25 approved  $846,833 general fund budget amendment to cover the shortfall.

“I owe the city employees an apology,” Flaggs said at the time. “I once stated that they would get a raise. I have tried every way I possibly could, working with the budget committee (but) it is absolutely no way, no way, we can do a raise in this budget year. It won’t happen.

“I took the full responsibility of announcing a raise without looking at the full totality of the budget and the audit report, which I have, but have not read.”

And while Flaggs said he still wants to give the raise, he wants to wait “until we can look at the numbers down the road.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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