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Vicksburg considers options as virus wreaks havoc on budget

Layoffs, pay cuts and a government reorganization are all on the table for a Mississippi city grappling with the financial impact of the coronavirus.

Vicksburg is projected to lose about $3 million this year due to the pandemic, Mayor George Flaggs Jr. told news outlets Friday. The figure comes from lost gaming revenue, tax dollars from business closures, and the postponement of one of the city’s major economic drivers — the Miss Mississippi Pageant.

“It is the biggest revenue generator we have in our city,” Flaggs said. The pageant has been postponed until April 2021, WLBT-TV reported.

The city had already trimmed its 2020 fiscal year budget by $1.4 million in September due to a tax revenue shortfall from Entergy’s Baxter Wilson power plant, The Vicksburg Post reported.

The mayor proposed a pay cut of 20% across the board and possible layoffs for 12% of the city’s workforce at a news conference earlier this month, according to The Post. The mayor’s reorganization plan was expected to be presented at a meeting May 18 with city aldermen.

A decision on cuts wasn’t expected to be made until June 15. The city was planning to ask the state legislature for financial aid first, Flaggs said.

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