Board approves 2020 budget, pay raise
The Board of Mayor and Aldermen prepared for the start of the 2020 fiscal year, approving the city’s $29.375 million budget, setting the special millage for the city’s downtown district and setting the city’s property tax millage for fiscal 2020.
The board also approved the 3 percent across-the-board pay raise for city employees and Mayor George Flaggs Jr. and Aldermen Michael Mayfield and Alex Monsour.
The raise, which is effective Oct. 9, increases the mayor’s salary from $103,417.60 per year to $106,520.12. The aldermen’s salaries go from $82,742.40 per year to $85,224.67. Because the board’s salary is set by ordinance, it had to approve an amendment to get the increase.
Flaggs said the pay raise increases the minimum raise for city employees from $8.25 an to $8.50 an hour for employees who have been with the city for six months.
He said 14-15 public works employees would receive raises up to 5 percent of their current salaries to adjust for discrepancies in pay.
When those employees were hired, Flaggs said, they were hired at a lower hourly rate than later employees. “There was an inequity and we fixed it; they got an additional 2 percent.”
In related matters, the board approved the 5.05 mill tax for the city’s downtown district to support the Vicksburg Main Street program. The tax is expected to raise $35,050 for the program, which supports and promotes the downtown area. The board also kept the city’s millage at 35.88 mills.
In other action, the board:
• Learned Denali Water Solutions, which removes the sludge from the lagoons at the city’s wastewater treatment plant on Rifle Range Road, has lost the local permitted disposal site for the sludge.
City attorney Nancy Thomas said the sludge had been permitted for agricultural use, but the farmer who had the land where the sludge was disposed no longer wants to participate, forcing Denali to use a site in Humphries County until another local site is found.
• Approved two resolutions involving the Kuhn Hospital property.
One resolution authorized city clerk Walter Osborne to again seek proposals for the property.
The other amended the city’s urban renewal plan for the property to remove a bid price for the property, and allow the city to keep the site for public use if no acceptable proposals are received.
The board in June advertised for proposals to develop the 12.8–acre site as a multi-use residential/commercial development with recreational facilities, but received no proposals.
The property at one time was the site of Kuhn Memorial Hospital, a city-owned building funded and operated by the state of Mississippi as a charity hospital until 1989.
After multiple attempts to get a series of property owners to clean the property and either renovate or raze the buildings, the city officially took title to the property Nov.1, 2017. The demolition of the buildings on the property was completed in April.