Hattiesburg council unanimously passes 2021 budget

Hattiesburg council unanimously passes 2021 budget

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - The Hattiesburg City Council unanimously passed the budget for fiscal year 2021 during a special-called meeting Tuesday night.

The $59 million budget is balanced, something that hasn’t happened in Hattiesburg in the last 10 years.

“This has taken a lot of work to get to this point, and for the first balanced budget in 10 years, a lot of hard decisions went in to it,” Mayor Toby Barker said.

Some of those tough decisions – cutting personnel costs with a reduction in force that will, in part, continue this year.

“By attrition, we were able to eliminate some of those costs on the personnel side while also reinvesting in wages for our employees across the board,” Barker said.

Back in April, the city cut 27 vacant positions and 39 filled positions, citing the pandemic’s impact on tax revenue as the reason why.

Among the things residents will notice from this budget include paving projects.

“Again, we’ll have another good year in paving," Barker said. "So, already in just three years we’ve sent 60% more than the previous entire term. So, every ward is seeing that progress, every ward has had over a million dollars spent to update their streets.”

“Which is important for really all of our city to see progress as we pave streets and other infrastructure projects,” Ward 1 Councilman Jeffrey George said.

The city will also raise the minimum wage for employees in several different departments.

In addition to the budget, the city approved Horne LLP as the consulting firm that will assist in the city’s COVID-19 response. It was passed 4-1, with Councilwoman Deborah Delgado being the lone vote against.

You can view the city’s full budget here.

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