GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - A millage increase could soon be coming to the city of Gautier. With a new shopping and medical center planned for Gautier, city leaders like Samantha Abell believe budgeting is essential to keeping the city afloat during a time of development.
"You don't want to balance your budget based on expectations, so we're taking a very conservative approach, and making sure we're paying as we go," Abell said.
One of the goals of that plan is stabilizing and enhancing the city's public safety. The 2015 general fund budget is a little over $9.3 million, compared to last year's budget of around $9.4 million.
"As an administrator, it's important that council give us a budget that we can work with, that we can make sure that we're able [to have] 'boots on the ground.' Do what it is the citizens need us to do," Abell said.
Abell said the increased millage from 6.75 to 8.11 will allow the city council to designate a certain amount of money to go toward public safety, making sure the city's fire and police departments are getting the same pay as surrounding cities.
"As we receive our ad valorem, we'll know what shape we're in. Again, our numbers are very conservative, so we feel good that we're going to be able to provide for our police and fire," Abell said.
In the long run, Abell believes with the new 2015 budget, police and fire department officials will be encouraged to stay, as well as have the chance to compete in wage with sister cities.
Abell said compared to surrounding cities and the county, Gautier will continue to have the second to lowest millage rate after Ocean Springs.