No tax increases in Ocean Springs for upcoming fiscal year

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - There will be not be any tax increases or layoffs in Ocean Springs for the upcoming fiscal year. That's according to the city's public relations officer, Ravin Floyd.

Floyd said Mayor Connie Moran and the Board of Aldermen held a special meeting Thursday to discuss the budget for the 2014-2015 fiscal year.

Also in that budget, no increase in garbage rates nor reduction in city services. In fact, city employees will be getting a raise for the first time since 2009.

"We will be adding a much needed person in our planning department and this will mark the first year in quite some time that our city employees will see a permanent pay raise," said Alderman Mike Impey. "We very much appreciate their loyalty and dedication to the city as we work to put Ocean Springs on a sound fiscal footing now and into the future. We are definitely headed in the right direction."

The finance committee, which is comprised of the city clerk, Shelly Ferguson, Aldermen Chic Cody, Bobby Cox and Mike Impey, has met over the past two months to find ways to cut spending. Impey said the committee has combined positions and cut expenses where appropriate.

"This has resulted in a budget that I think we can be proud of as a city," said Impey. "All of the theatrics about raising taxes, soliciting sponsors, shutting off lights at our parks, requesting residents to voluntarily write checks to the city for a tax increase were unnecessary and flat out ridiculous," said Alderman Matt McDonell. "The budget process is about vision, planning, and managing your resources. Our city employees have demonstrated that ability once again with flying colors."

Floyd said sales tax is the main revenue source for the city and outside of personnel utilities proved to be the highest expense.

There will be a public hearing regarding the budget on Monday, September 8 at 6pm at city hall.

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