Bay St. Louis plans budget, scales back employees

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - Bay St. Louis was one of the cities hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina.  Six years later, officials say recovery is almost complete.

However, closing the chapter on recovery means the city's finances will change.

"We're not anticipating all the recovery revenues that we've also been dealing with since Katrina. So, we're really getting back to what we all would consider normal operations," said Mayor Les Fillingame.

Without the recovery grants that aided the city for the last six years, officials have had to scale back and shift around some of its employment for their 2012 budget.  Lower than expected population numbers also mean changes.

The city had increased its Fire and Police Departments after and annexation in 2006.  They have since scaled back those numbers.

However, the mayor says the city has been anticipating the day when operations would return to normal.

"We've been working on the scale backs and personnel costs for well over the last year. So we've already scaled back to where we need to be," said Fillingame.

Now, as projects shift from rebuilding to maintaining, all focus will be on developing the waterfront.  The mayor believes it will be key in bringing back businesses and residents.

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