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Vicksburg overcomes impact from COVID-19 to finish year with balanced budget

The city of Vicksburg will finish the year with a balanced budget and no surplus for fiscal 2020

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen last week approved a series of budget amendments that included a transfer of $1.576 million in non-dedicated money to balance the budget and close out the fiscal year. The 2021 fiscal year began Thursday.

City Accounting Director Doug Whittington said the non-dedicated funds “absolutely is what got us (balanced) without question; we don’t balance this (budget) without that $1,576,300. It’s the unfunded revenue loss (because of COVID-19).”

“The bottom line is we’ve been able to, as of today, bridge the gap for the 2020 budget,” Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said. “We started from a $2.8 million projected revenue loss because of COVID. Because we stayed at home and shopped at home we were able to project a whole lot more revenue than we were projected to lose.

“I also want to give credit to this board and Doug and the division heads for working together and making certain we use all the conservative processes that we can use. As a result of that, I think we have covered the budget gap as it relates to COVID-19,” Flaggs said.

Flaggs, however, said the city has yet to receive state sales tax reimbursements for August and September and the board still does not know if the city will receive federal funds to cover lost revenue because of COVID-19.

While the city received $558,000 from the state to cover COVID-19 expenses, the mayor said the city still has about $500,000 in overtime expenses outstanding.

The city is forecast to come up about $255,000 short of its fiscal 2020 projected $8.05 million revenue with the August and September reimbursements still outstanding.

Because sales tax reimbursements run two months behind, the state reimbursement for August reimbursement comes in October and the state check for September will come in November.

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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