Hattiesburg budget increases for major projects

Hattiesburg budget increases for major projects

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The city of Hattiesburg will soon vote on a budget that is nearly $26 million more than in 2014.

"The highest impact dollar amount is going to be that we are budgeting for the new public safety complex," Chief Financial Officer Sharon Waits said.  "There's a $25 million increase there that even though we do not anticipate spending by all of that in one year, by any means, that is anticipated to be a three year project."
In addition to that complex, which will house the police department and municipal court, the city is also getting ready to go green. A $7.4 million energy project through Johnson Controls will make energy efficient changes across the city.
"The savings from these various systems that we are improving and upgrading actually pay for the cost of making those upgrades," Waits said.
Capital projects are not the only addition to the budget. There is an across-the-board raise for entry-level employees proposed for the first time in three years.
"We are proposing an increase to the minimum salary for a city employee," Waits said, which will impact crew workers, clerical workers and those in unskilled labor with a raise to a minimum $10/hour.
"That will mean that those employees at our lowest pay levels would get an increase," she said.

Sworn firemen will also get a $1,500 raise, if the budget is approved as is.

The city council is expected to vote on the budget at the next meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 22 at 5 p.m.