Pascagoula's full time employees get raises this budget year

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - By Patrice Clark – bio | email

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - While other cities are talking about pay cuts or layoffs, the City of Pascagoula is squeezing employee raises out of its tight budget this year. The city is giving 212 of its full time workers a 1.75 percent cost of living increase.

"With the way prices are for things these days, it will come in handy," Kathy Turner said.

"I love working for the city of Pascagoula," Lorraine Krebs said.

Employees are surprised about the increase with so many budget cuts and job loses state-wide.

"Look at the situation with the shipyard right now and the other cities with the layoffs and what not. So it feels very good,"  Krebs said.

Human Resources Director Bruce Knott said Pascagoula is giving a nearly two percent raise without raising taxes. He said steady sales tax revenue flowing in and millions in grant dollars helped increase salaries.

"If we got a grant to replace storm water stuff, we will pave roads and we will do something in conjunction with that so it is one time dig, instead of repairing a street with grant money and going back later."

Knott said another reason why the city is able give its employees pay raises is it only hires people that it needs, and the employees have multiple skill sets.

"I wear four hats right now; I am the risk management director, the human resources director, the public relations director and I also IT computer system," Knott said. "I look at some cities and I am thinking if you can cut 10 percent of your workforce and still get the job done, maybe you should have cut 10 percent of your work force a couple of years ago."

Knott said the city is also looking to fill two full time positions this year.

Pascagoula leaders said the city's frugal spending plan is not perfect, but they feel it is necessary to avoid extreme financial woes.

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