JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson has proposed a new city budget, which does not increase taxes and does not lay off or furlough city employees. But the new budget does slightly increase water and sewer rates.
The mayor spoke enthusiastically, in measured tones, before a packed city council chamber which applauded him many times.
His operating budget is down four percent. The overall financial budget is 12.1 percent less and the only increase in cost to taxpayers is a water and sewer increase of about a dollar a week, with no layoffs or furloughs.
Johnson talked about the need to right-size Jackson in the future. "Over the last two decades, population has declined in Jackson and our tax base has been reduced. Yet in some cases, we are still providing the same level of service, as though we had a 200,000 person population. We have to get into the business of right-sizing city government. And in this year's budget we are proposing measures that enable us to do just that.
His wife Kathy, sitting on the front row, thought he did a good job. "I am so very, very proud of him. And the thing of which I am proudest most is that he knows what he is talking about."
Longtime city councilwoman Margaret Barrett Simon also praised the mayor's budget speech. "We can bring to our people, no tax increase and only a small increase in water and sewer, I am very pleased with that."
The president of the city council, Frank Bluntson, thought the mayor did a good job as well. "The main thing, nobody's gonna be laid off, no tax increases, and little increase in the water bill."
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