PICAYUNE, MS (WLOX) - Across South Mississippi, local governments are crunching the numbers and trying to figure out how to come out with a balanced budget. In Picayune, city employees learned there is not enough money to give raises. While they won't be earning more, the good news is no one will be losing his or her job.
More than 180 people make a living working for the City of Picayune. As they do every year during budget time, all the department heads went before the city council and presented their financial wish lists.
"The departments asked for additional employees and additional vehicles and things like that, which exceeded what we could do with our budget without having to raise taxes," said Mayor Ed Pinero.
At one point during budget discussions, Pinero said it looked like the city may have to choose between a tax hike and layoffs of some administrative staff. However, he said the city came up with a long term plan that avoids having to hand out pink slips.
"That was one of the concerns, but what we've done is through attrition, we're not going to fill some middle management positions. We're going to fix those positions with technology. We're just going to use more technology to be more efficient. We will not hire some positions when we have people who are going to retire in the next few months," said Pinero.
Pinero said while the city will have to pay $65,000 more next fiscal year for employee insurance costs, that won't affect any planned improvement projects for Picayune, and there will be no added burden on residents.
"There are not enough votes for tax increases, so residents do not have to worry about that," said Pinero.
Residents who want to know more about the Picayune budget can attend a public hearing scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 19, at 5 p.m.