Pascagoula eliminates $14M budget deficit
PASCAGOULA, Miss. (WLOX) - Pascagoula is back in the black. After nearly five years of fiscal restraint, the city of Pascagoula has finally eliminated the $14 million budget deficit that was found in 2018.
It was sticker shock.
There was a forensic audit and an FBI investigation.
“The big issue was in 2014 and 2017, the previous management staff was utilizing bond proceeds and putting into the general fund,” said city manager Michael Silverman.
Then came the medicine: painful budget cuts and department streamlining that has consumed subsequent administrations.
“The deficit hanging over our heads was very much like a dark cloud. Everything we did was in relationship to the deficit,” said Mayor Jay Willis.
Silverman was met with a huge challenge when he came in as city manager in 2019.
The hard work to erase the deficit continued, department after department.
“A lot of it involved taking on different tasks, having one person assume a variety of roles,” Silverman said. “In many ways, it worked out because we realized that we were top heavy and we just did not have a good personnel set up.”
Now, city officials announced that the deficit is gone.
“I think one of the things is citizens are going to feel a lot more confident with us knowing that we are spending their money in a wise, efficient fashion,” Silverman said. “In addition, it will help us on long-term planning and addressing a variety of capital improvement projects that we have in store for the future.”
The effort was arduous, but Willis said the city didn’t just get by during the deficit years. In many ways, it thrived.
“Interestingly, during that five-year time period, we have done some amazing things in the city in relation to investments in our city and infrastructure improvements,” Willis said.
“It should serve as an inspiration to our citizens that throughout these challenging times, we’ve continued to provide excellent public services and we’ve seen major economic development gains,” Silverman added.
Want more WLOX news in your inbox? Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
Copyright 2023 WLOX. All rights reserved.