Hattiesburg City Council discusses budget for fiscal year 2017

Hattiesburg City Council discusses budget for fiscal year 2017

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Hattiesburg resident, Kenny Harrel, is a retired firefighter and wanted to make sure he spoke on behalf of the city's fire and police department during the Hattiesburg City Council budget hearing for fiscal year 2017.

"I very, very seriously encourage you to look at their pay and give them the benefit of the pay that we need to retain our firefighters and our police officers," Harrell said.
But according to the Chief Financial Officer Sharon Waits, she is still working with the council to include pay increases in the 2017 proposed budget.
"There is not anything in this budget at this time that is for pay increases," Waits said.

As for as decreases, Waits stated the city's current revenue projections did not come in as high as anticipated.

Waits said there is about a $5 million short fall, and that means cuts from the 2017 budget, which will be spread over the city as a whole.

She explained another change will impact residents by a little more than $8 a year.
"So, the total millage increase for city and school taxes is .81 mils," Waits said.

But the council approved a silver lining. The 55 percent water and sewer rate increase folks saw on their bills a couple of months ago will go down 35 percent effective immediately.

"Basically, a $15 minimum increase in your water and sewer, it's now only going to be $5," City Council President, Carter Carroll said.
There is good news for the police department, the council approved more tasers for the force.
"We don't want to use deadly force if we don't have to so that's why we are using tasers, that's why we want to make sure we use body cams when we get those," Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree said.
The budget will  be finalize and adopted in two weeks.