Conservative budgeting has worked very well in spending Vicksburg tax dollars

Published 6:20 pm Tuesday, August 7, 2018

The key word for the city of Vicksburg’s fiscal 2019 budget is “frugal.”

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. outlined the Board of Mayor and Aldermen’s budget strategy at the start of its meeting Monday.

“We’re going to cut traveling back 25 percent; we’re going to cut training 25 percent, we’re going to go with a 97 percent budget,” he said at the start of Monday’s board meeting.

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“We have every intention over the next three years of reducing the city employees by 45. I think we’re on our way; we’ve reduced at least nine or 10 already.

“As people quit, retire, we’re going to reevaluate their position to determine whether or not we should keep it,” he said. “More consolidation, more streamlining in this government because I still believe there’s $1 million or so that can be saved by streamlining.”

Cutting the city’s work force and the 97 percent budget is a strategy the mayor has been using since he took office in 2013. The 97 percent budget means setting your budget based on 97 percent of the city’s total anticipated revenues, with the remaining 3 percent going into a reserve fund for special needs like emergencies. It’s a good way to plan a budget, and avoid overspending.

Flaggs’ plan for reducing the city’s work force is also a good way to cut costs. Allowing the work force to be reduced through attrition means no employees will be laid off or furloughed. As a worker retires or resigns, the board will review the individual’s job to determine if the position is needed or if it can be consolidated with another position, reducing costs and possibly eliminating duplication of effort.

The budget plans the mayor announced Monday should not come as a surprise to anyone. For the past five years, Vicksburg’s city government has been financially sound, and a big reason for that is the willingness of the board to be financially responsible and make sound decisions with our tax dollars. With other cities facing tight financial times and having to find ways to meet spending shortfalls, it’s good to know that Vicksburg has so far been able to avoid making decisions to avoid financial disaster.

That’s a tribute to the board and the city department heads who have bought into the mayor’s conservative budgeting and been financially intelligent.