City enacts one-year hiring freeze; faces a $1.1M deficit

VICKSBURG — The city of Vicksburg has implemented a 12-month hiring freeze.

The Vicksburg Post reports that the city is faced with a projected $1.1 million deficit when the new fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen said the action is an attempt to prevent dipping into the city’s cash reserves.

City accounting director Doug Whittington said the board has approved budget amendments that created a projected $602,412 deficit. When coupled with an existing $534,932 deficit from actions taken by the previous board, the city will be in the red by $1.1 million when the fiscal year ends Sept. 30.

The city has operated during the current fiscal year on a $28.8 million budget.

Whittington said the city has sufficient money in its cash reserve to cover the deficit if needed, but declined to give a total in the reserve because it has not been audited.

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said he does not want to dip into the extra funds, hoping instead that the city will be able to make up the deficit through a combination of tax revenue and the hiring freeze.

“I want to give us 30 days (until the 2014 fiscal year begins) to look at every position and every salary, see where we need to make adjustments,” Flaggs said.

The hiring freeze begins Sept. 3 and will continue through Oct. 1, 2014, the first day of the 2015 fiscal year.

“We won’t be laying off, won’t have furloughs and I think we can ride it out until Oct. 1,” Flaggs said. “When I see buildings going up and the traffic we’re having in Vicksburg, you can’t tell me the economy’s not improving.”

 

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