City Budgets Tightened In Ocean Springs

Cutting costs is the name of the game in Ocean Springs. Mayor Seren Ainsworth says the city always has a tight budget, but because of some unexpected spending and loss of revenue, this year's budget has no breathing room.

"Hurricane Ivan came in and, of course, you have preparedness and debris removal and some other things that happen during the storm. It adds costs in each municipality and county wherever the storm hits. That kind of put the crunch on us there," Ainsworth says.

Officials estimate that crunch will add up to $425,000. That's money Ainsworth says the city just doesn't have. Now he's asking all departments to pinch their pennies.

"When you normally would buy five cases of copy paper, let's cut back to two and see if you can get by with that."

Although Ainsworth says this budget will not affect any employee payrolls, City Clerk Janet Dudding has a different opinion. She didn't want to speak on camera, but she says making payroll could be a legitimate concern if the city has any more unexpected expenses.

Tuesday night, city leaders met to discuss Ocean Springs' finances and come up with ways to generate more money.

"We've looked at the budget. We've prepared all the numbers. We found additional revenue that we had earmarked for capital projects and put those on hold. There won't be any new capital projects right now. Hopefully we'll be able to pick those up sometime in the near future," Ward 3 Alderman Chic Cody says.

Cody hopes putting new projects on hold will be the only affect of the crunch.