Bay St. Louis mayor sets record straight about finances

Published: Dec. 10, 2011 at 11:42 PM CST
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BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - Bay St. Louis Mayor Les Fillingame wants to set the record straight about the city's budget.

Revenues may not be exactly what officials projected but he says it is no reason to worry.

Fillingame said, "Last year our initial budget projections for our general budget, which by in large is the biggest in the city, started at a little more than $12 million and by the end of the year revenues came in at about $11.1 million."

But he explains, do not let those numbers mislead you.

"Most of that $7.7 million, by in large the biggest portion of it, was just grant revenues that were not utilized. So if you don't have the expenditures on the grant side then you don't draw the revenues so it's really a net zero affect on the budget," Fillingame said.

In fact last year the city ended with a surplus which was put into a rainy day fund.

"We were able to trim expenses to 77 percent of what we projected," Fillingame said.

That is without increasing taxes or laying anyone off. "We have made a shift using some of the natural attrition to shift away from full time employees," Fillingame said.

And although this fiscal year which began in October is off to a shaky start the mayor is optimistic.

"Sales tax and gaming revenues and a couple of the other major indicators of revenues were a little disappointing those two months but the is really no indication that downward trend is going to last all year long," Fillingame said.

But if this trend does continue Fillingame says the city is prepared. "To come up on the safe side of that projection we will assume that 10 percent will continue through the year and start trimming expenses to meet that."

And he says this will not come at the expense of the taxpayers.

"We have a very hard working group of people. I think we had a higher level of municipal service last year with less money," Fillingame said.

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