Greenville Mayor Errick D. Simmons told the Delta Democrat-Times that any city employee who wants to make a purchase must get approval from him. He said emergency items will be approved, but elected officials are trying to send the message that the city “can do more with less.”
Greenville has faced major issues with the sewer system this year. Some manholes have collapsed, and crews have had to repair broken water lines, pipes and manhole covers.
Since 2015, Greenville has spent roughly $3.8 million on sewer repairs. All of that was paid with cash.
Shortly after the current budget year started Oct. 1, City Council members realized the steep financial situation they would be facing. In January, the council set a 2.5 percent budget cut for all departments and put restrictions on purchase orders.
“We are putting things in place where we are trying to reduce our expenditure side of our budget or balance sheet to be more fiscally responsible to our taxpayers,” Simmons said in a recent interview.
With just over four months until the fiscal year ends Sept. 30, the city has hundreds of unpaid purchase orders to local merchants.
Steve Osso is the city’s external financial consultant. He said although Greenville’s finances are not where he would like them, the present circumstances must be held in context.
In March, the city had about $3.7 million cash on-hand, which was down about $3.8 million year-to-date.
By May, the city had about $5.2 million cash on-hand, bringing the year-to-date cash balance difference to about $2.6 million.
When Osso became the financial consultant for the city 10 years ago, he said the finances were not great. However, they began to steadily turn around until 2013, when the Environmental Protection Agency ordered the city to improve its water and sewer system.
The city is 18 months ahead of schedule on sewer work in some areas, but getting to that point required spending vast amounts from the cash balance for sewer evaluation studies, Osso said.
Greenville’s sewer infrastructure issues aren’t going to be solved soon.
“Where there is challenge, there is opportunity and the greatest opportunity that I see, as the mayor of this city, is that our children and grandchildren will have a better infrastructure, have a better sanitary sewer and collection system,” Simmons said. “It’s going to cost but at least we can attract the necessary industry to improve the quality of life.”
BEFORE YOU GO…
… we’d like to ask for your support. More people are reading the Mississippi Business Journal than ever before, but advertising revenues for all conventional media are falling fast. Unlike many, we do not use a pay wall, because we want to continue providing Mississippi’s most comprehensive business news each and every day. But that takes time, money and hard work. We do it because it is important to us … and equally important to you, if you value the flow of trustworthy news and information which have always kept America strong and free for more than 200 years.
If those who read our content will help fund it, we can continue to bring you the very best in news and information. Please consider joining us as a valued member, or if you prefer, make a one-time contribution.Click for more info