City of Hattiesburg one step closer to finalized budget

City of Hattiesburg one step closer to finalized budget

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The city of Hattiesburg is one step closer to adopting a new budget for the next fiscal year after Tuesday’s City Council meeting. Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker is hoping for a general fund budget of $56 million for the next fiscal year.

“Overall, we are committed to making sure we can bring our budget into balance while also meeting the needs of our various neighborhoods,” Barker said.

Barker said his team is working to construct a sustainable model the city can keep over time. Within the master plan, public safety and infrastructure are priority.

“Ever since fiscal year 11, which was the last year we passed a truly balanced budget, we’ve been passing budgets as a city where expenses long and far outpace expected revenues,” Barker said.

Currently, the structural deficit for the current budget year is about $3.4 million, but Barker said the city will end balanced.

“This year we have managed to trim that down to under 2.7 million, which is the fiscal year 15 structural deficit amount," Barker said. "That required a lot of work. We went through and eliminated a lot of open positions and tried to cut back on services we thought we could do in house.”

Barker is asking the council to approve a general fund budget of more than $56 million for the next fiscal year.

“I think you will see safer neighborhoods, because we will have more man power to cover the city," Barker said. "I think you will see more miles of roads paved, which is the number one complaint we get. I think you will also see neighborhood specific projects that neighborhoods have been asking for.”

The Hattiesburg City Council will adopt a budget before September 15.

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