Budget approved for city of Laurel

Budget approved for city of Laurel

LAUREL, MS (WDAM) - The city of Laurel now has an approved budget for the 2015-2016 fiscal year.

Council members had until Tuesday to approve the budget, so a special meeting was held at city hall Monday Morning.

The budget passed with a 4-3 vote, along with a few changes.

Council member Manuel Jones said he was disappointed that he was not included in the budget discussions.

"I had no say-so on this budget period. None of the other council members did," Jones said.

Mayor Johnny Magee disagreed with that statement.

"That's not exactly true," Magee said. "He, along with all 7 of the other council members, had a say. It was not done exactly like it has been in the past, but they still had the same figures. They still had the choice to do what they wanted to do."

How to pay for the road improvement project was a major concern for council members. Councilman Tony Wheat proposed reducing the amount of the tax increase for citizens, which means that taxes will go up but not as much as initially proposed.

Magee disagreed with Wheat's proposal.

"The finance director, suggested doing it a different way, but if that's the way they want to do it, then that's the way we will carry it out," Magee said.

Raises for city employees were also addressed during the meeting. Councilman Jones does not think that is possible with sales taxes down in the city every month.

"If it continues that trend and we give a raise, how are we going to pay the employees?" Councilman Jones said.

Magee said if the city uses the surplus money that is in the general fund, there is still a possibility for the raises.