PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Mayor Dane Maxwell confirms three people inside the Pascagoula Police Department lost their jobs last week.
One layoff was an animal control officer. The mayor said that was the only road position cut. The other two police department positions slashed were considered non-essential personnel.
The city will also freeze seven other positions inside the police department.
"These are positions that are absorbed within the department anyways. There's really no affect to fire and police at all. These positions are sitting there empty and they assure us that they'll not miss a beat," Mayor Maxwell said.
Residents we spoke with said they were relieved patrol officers weren't being let go.
"We need the police officers because there's a lot going on here," said Melody Smith.
"Well sorry about the budget but we need all the help we can get," added Wesley House.
The mayor said 11 city workers in Pascagoula's beautification department have been let go.
These cuts are the result of a $14 million shortfall in Pascagoula's budget. "I hate they lost their jobs," Maxwell said. "But, I wasn't going to let the city bankrupt either."
The mayor is waiting to hear from the city manager about the overall number of positions either frozen or cut from the Pascagoula payroll.
"We didn't create this problem, we're just trying to fix it," Maxwell said.
The layoffs will be finalized at Thursday's meeting at City Hall. It gets underway at 4:30 p.m. Following the meeting will be the city's budget meeting to discuss the 2019 fiscal year budget. The public is invited to attend.
While talking about the decision to reduce the city's payroll and eliminate its $14 million shortfall, Maxwell reiterated what he said during his campaign for mayor, "Government is too big for a town of 23,000."
Maxwell revealed Wednesday that Ingalls Shipbuilding has offered to forfeits its tax abatements to help offset the budget issues.
"They're really helping us," he said.
Maxwell added that Ingalls reached out the city and made this offer, saying they'd revisit in a few years. "Very excited about that. I hear a lot of talk about Ingalls and how good they are and I got to tell you, as mayor of this city, I'm so proud of what Ingalls is doing."