Waveland budget: "Bringing back our employees slowly"

WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) - Waveland leaders have passed what they say is a balanced budget which will put the city on the road to financial recovery.  The ten million dollar budget unanimously passed Wednesday night.  It includes a property tax hike as well as an increase in utility bills for residents.

City leaders say it's a tight budget that will be monitored closely on a monthly basis.  Waveland leaders signed off on a 10 million dollar budget that they admit will have the city operating leaner than every before.  "There are no capital expenditures what so ever included in this year's fiscal budget." Said Waveland Mayor David Garcia.

No capital improvements means no money for paving streets, fixing drainage or repairs to city buildings.  "The only other thing we have built in the budget is bringing back our employees slowly and building the staff back up," the mayor said

Most workers have been off the job for more than two weeks now. When they are allowed to return, their pay will be cut ten percent.

In order for the city to survive, Waveland residents will also have to pay more property taxes.  "This year's budget also includes a 5.77 percent increase in the milage rate. We wasn't real happy to have to increase the milage but it's been sometime since the milage has been increased we needed to do that cause we're just not collecting the funds that need to come in. I think on a $250,000 home it's roughly like 42-cents a day." explained Garcia.

Folks in Waveland will also have to pay an extra five dollars on their monthly gas ,water, sewer, and garbage bill.  Garcia said it will mean a big difference in the city's general fund.  "Both of them is only going to bring in roughly about a half million dollars per year."

The Mayor says he's encouraged to see new businesses now going up, but remains cautious, projecting how much sales tax revenue they will generate for the city.  "We're using the same numbers as last year playing it safe so we're really building a safer budget than the previous administration did. With saying that we hope to end in the black with the numbers that we have," said the mayor.

Garcia says playing it safe also means monthly check ups and changes to keep Waveland's budget from reaching another crisis.

Originally Waveland leaders had included paying a percentage of the city's furloughed workers' health insurance while they are off the job.  However, the mayor says they were told by the State Auditor's office they couldn't do that.

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