- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 30, 2015

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) - Hattiesburg will have a working budget when the city’s new fiscal year starts Thursday.

After delaying a week, The Hattiesburg American reports (https://hatne.ws/1WxnMj6) the city council voted Tuesday in a special-called meeting to approve a $138 million budget for 2015-16.

Council had approved a tax levy earlier this month that will add 2.1 mills to raise additional funds for repaving projects and initial expenses for a planned $25 million Public Safety Complex that will incorporate the police department, fire department administration and Municipal Court operations on one campus.

But the budget adoption was held up until a minimum $2 million cash carry-over into fiscal year 2016-17 was documented.

“The ending balance, it’s well north of $2 million, and that’s where it needed to be,” Council President Kim Bradley said.

The carry-over helps the city pay bills until the bulk of ad valorem revenue arrives after January.

The approval came after adjustments requested by the council majority were incorporated, including:

-Removal of a $266,000 amphitheater project at Chain Park

-Removal of $22,000 consulting for long-term Twin Forks Rising project

-Return of $93,350 to the general fund from three positions that have remained unfilled for at least 90 days, including a Sanitation Department community development specialist ($24,960); Streets Division crew foreman ($24,960); and Construction Division facility maintenance repair

-Return of $59,640 to the general fund for two, part-time accounting positions.

Originally, council had asked that five positions be closed under an amended HAVPAY ordinance. But Bradley said that during further conversations, it was discovered that two of the five were in the process of being filled.

Council also had requested the closing of three part-time positions, but that one was pulled back.

Mayor Johnny DuPree said he was glad to have a budget in hand before the start of fiscal year 2015-16 on Thursday.

___

Information from: The Hattiesburg American, https://www.hattiesburgamerican.com


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