HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - The City of Hattiesburg adopted its 2020 fiscal year budget Thursday afternoon.
"This year, we had several challenges that we knew we were facing,” said Mayor Toby Barker. “We are trying to push us back to structural balance where recurring expenditures match recurring revenues."
The adopted budget takes $400,000 from Parks and Rec and is being devoted to drainage infrastructure and the paving budget is being increased by $200,000 bringing the total paving budget to $2.7 million.
The funds will focus on city department improvements, providing raises for several positions.
"Raising the driver’s salary for our sanitation trucks to $14 an hour to help us recruit and retain drivers and equipment operators. It raised the minimum wage in water and sewer to $13 an hour,” said Barker. “It raised the minimum wage in public works to $11 an hour."
Baker said the budget also solves several problems the city currently faces.
"One desire we've heard from our residents is the need to be more consistent with our trash pickup,” said Barker. “I know we have some equipment issues there. We'll have two new knuckle booms that are going to hit the ground in the next month. We are also going to invest in a new rear-end loaded, a new street sweeper and a new routing software in this upcoming budget year."
Barker also told WDAM the city is not quite where he wants it to be, but it’s headed in that direction.
"While this is slightly down from last year in terms of the general fund, we are continuing to climb out of our financial challenges and we look forward to the work we are going to have to put in over the next couple of years to truly get back to structural balance,” said Barker.
The general fund for the budget is a little more than $61 million.