Melton Adjusts Budget - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Jackson 9/10/07

Melton Adjusts Budget

By David Kenney
david@wlbt.net  

A shortage of funds in the capital city has some city leaders looking for creative ways to balance the budget.

The mayor's budget included a sizable tax increase, but now he says he may have a way around that.

The mayor released this plan to use the police department to balance the budget so quickly, Police Chief Shirlene Anderson didn't know about it until after the media contacted her. If it works, melton says his proposed tax increase could be a thing of the past.

 Mayor Melton says he is formulating a special team of police officers to go after people with outstanding warrants and fines owed to the city. Melton wants to arrest and jail thousands who owe over 30 million, and keep them behind bars till they pay up. His other proposed option, raise taxes. 

City Council members have until friday to vote on a budget, right now they're reviewing budgets for individual departments, looking for ways to make up for the 1.9 million dollar deficit.

Councilman Marshand Crisler says, "We do have several other options outside of raising citizens taxes and fees to look at we just got to be very creative at times in order to lessen the blow to our communities." 

Some council members plan to introduce a resolution to borrow3.4 million to make up for the shortfall. Drastic cuts to some departments are also in the discussion. Melton wants to reduce Jatrans budget by a million.

Council members are closely examining salaries paid to temporary city employees, an area many have said they'd like to cut out altogether in the past. Currently Melton's budget includes a 14 percent tax increase, and rate hikes for sewer, water, and sanitation service.

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