BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - On Tuesday, council members got their first look at a proposed $57.5 million budget. City leaders say they have lot of big decisions to make soon.
"We don't want any surprises. We don't want to sandbag," said Mayor FoFo Gilich. "We don't want to overstate anything or understate anything. Our efforts will be to know about it as it happens. Not at the end of the year or each quarter."
So far in fiscal year 2015, sales tax revenue collections are up $464,000 from the previous year. City officials say gaming numbers look promising as well.
"As far as gaming, we're up $1 million already here today. We're up 7.83 percent over the prior year," said Biloxi Comptroller Scott McElroy. "The past two years we had $16.8 million roughly on each year. But this year we're probably coming in at about $18 million. That's where we budgeted revenue for next year, $18.4 million "
Over the next few weeks, city council members will attempt to make the budget numbers work.
Councilman Kenny Glavan noted, "I think we've got a lot of work to do and a short time to kind of get this right. It's encouraging that we still have some revenues to account for. We'll be going over that with a fine tooth comb in the coming weeks."
Included in the budget plan is a proposed pay raise for around 500 city employees.
"This is a draft as you saw with a 3 percent increase but that's a working number," said Gilich. "We're going to refine that number and apply it properly to all our employees."
City leaders have until mid-September to make their final decisions. Biloxi's next budget hearing will be Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. Officials say the department heads will make their presentations at that time.