Friday, May 13, 2016

Jackson + budget deficit = meat cleaver

Mayor Tony Yarber and the Jackson City Council held a spirited discussion over the budget and reserve fund yesterday.   Interim Director of Administration Michelle Battee-Day told the council that the city was forced to use the reserve fund to balance the budget last year and this year. However, an ordinance requires the city to maintain a reserve fund that is 7.5% of the budget. The repeated dipping into the reserve fund will reduce the balance to only $1.3 million later this year when it should be $9 million. 

Ms. Day told the council that the city was forced to use part of the reserve fund for the fund balance.  The reserve fund last year was deficient $4.187 million (The reserve fund itself was not empty but was $4.187 below the required amount of $9.178 million.).  The budget for the 2015-2016 fiscal year had a beginning reserve fund balance of  $4.991 million.  More spending of the reserve is anticipated.  

 Mayor Yarber said the council was informed of these transfers and approved of them.  However, Councilman Melvin Priester strongly disagreed with the Mayor and claimed it agreed to a budget with a proper 7.5% reserve fund and not one that was deficient.  Mayor Yarber said if the council had made the hard decisions on past budgets it would "have made us unelectable."

Councilman Ashby Foote pointed out that property tax collections were 8% higher than a year ago.  However, it appears some of this increase is due to reassessed values on homes over $100,000.

Ms. Day made several recommendations about fixing the budget problems in a memo posted below:

a.The city’s proposed financial plan included the establishment of a budget stabilization fund which will provide a mechanism by which funds which exceed budget needs (including the required fund balance) may be set aside.
b.The city must re-define our core services. The provision of these core services should be our primary focus as we continue to rebuild our reserves. The city has historically provided services that extend beyond public safety, water and wastewater and infrastructure (streets & bridges) management. Our citizens have benefited tremendously from these services but the cost of providing them has begun to drain the city of much needed resources; which has affected our ability to provide our core services.
c.The city must continue to explore, create and implement additional revenue streams. (i.e. parking meters, explore ways to monetize the city’s assets, explore private management of certain city facilities)
d.The hiring of all non-essential personnel should be suspended.
e.All non-emergency overtime and overtime not previously approved by the department director should be suspended.
f.Requests for non-emergency purchases and travel should be suspended.
g.Reduce funding provided to outside agencies.
h.Discontinue the youth employment and the summer enrichment programs until the city has rebuilt our reserve.
Kingfish note:  So here we are.  All parties bear responsibility for this mess.  They kicked the can down the road.  They tried to please everyone by using furloughs instead of laying off people and instead pleased no one.  Now they are discussing doing what should have been done last year.  Ostriches indeed.


Anonymous said...

I actually see this year's mess as a positive. We actually have decent leadership (not great, decent) for the first time in a long time, and it's time to get some things right. Make the hard yet necessary cuts, figure out the water/sewer debacle, and move forward using the 1% money correctly to cure some infrastructure woes.

Now I await the deluge of comments telling me that Jackson is a shit hole and beyond saving. That may be true, but best of luck to the people trying to fix this mess. A strong Jackson can only help the entire metro area.

Anonymous said...

Somehow the answer to all of Jackson's money problems includes "parking meters"

Anonymous said...

Jesus Christ, please help Jackson!! Isn't that right Tony? The only way to fix this is to allow each ward to collect it's own property tax, and provide it's own services. Smaller piles of money are easy to count and account than large, unmanageable assets. Too big...will surely fail. This is not going to end well, and I fear the city will only see raising taxes as the only solution. If that happens, the productive citizens of Jackson will have no choice other than to bail. Then, the city is left with even more unproductive (tax generators) citizens, who will drain us further. We'll be right back where we are today 5 years from now, with even worse infrastructure. Please GOD, help these people see that smaller is better, and more manageable. Property values will rise, services will be provided, and people will stay, and some may even return.

Anonymous said...

Has everyone forgotten that many of the thugs in Jackson has their own set of keys for the parking meters?

Anonymous said...

There needs to be a significant RIF (reduction in force, aka layoffs) in city personnel. I don't know why city leaders view this as such a poison pill. It's not. Layoffs happen all.the.time. Sure, there will be some crying and teeth gnashing for a few weeks. Then everyone will get over it and move on.

Employees are always one of the biggest, if not THE biggest, expenses incurred. Jackson's population is declining significantly, and the city workforce should mirror that reduction.

Reducing the city's payroll is where the real savings will be found.

Anonymous said...

2:05, which dept. leader do you think will be the first to fire their family members?

Anonymous said...

@12:38, The city doesn't collect property taxes, the county does it for them. And please don't say that the city could do it cheaper, there ain't no way especially when they can't even collect water revenue which is infinitely less complicated than ad-valorem. Come to think of it, perhaps they should get the county to do their water billing for them. Metro government looking better all the time.

Anonymous said...

its all about personnel costs. Must layoff in Administration first, not fire police public works etc.

Anonymous said...

There needs to be a significant RIF (reduction in force, aka layoffs) in city personnel. I don't know why city leaders view this as such a poison pill.

If you don't understand why then you need to get the hell off the internet.

Anonymous said...

Jackson offers nothing to "metro government".

Anonymous said...

Jackson will dry up and blow away before the administration gives up their bird nest on the ground.

Anonymous said...

Not one penny to the Zoo. Sell the golf courses. Not another penny to JATRAN, JATRAN must run 100% on any available Fed dollars and fares. Sell Thalia Mara. Shutter or sell Davis Planetarium.

What's Your PIN Number? said...

4:43 - I don't understand it either. If you DO, please explain it. A well-structured, defensible Reduction in Force is in order. How can that not be understood and accepted? It's baffling.

City leaders know full well that would throw hundreds of black folk out of a nice PERS retirement. And, after all, it's all about jobs and owning a piece of the pie. The thousands of people occupying city jobs has nothing to do with functions being carried out or services being offered. It's all about holding down a position in the system and the benefits that follow.

Anonymous said...

All parties may bear some responsibility, but the mayor deserves the brunt because of these two facts: the changes to the budget -- versus what was actually approved -- and the furloughs all come from the mayor's office. City Council had nothing to do with that, just like it won't be able to stop the summer youth program cancellation.

Anonymous said...

Where is Kennuf Stokes at?

Anonymous said...

This is very very funny stuff. The best was this comment by Yarber- Mayor Yarber said if the council had made the hard decisions on past budgets it would "have made us unelectable."

To quote Rverend Wright, "the chickens have come home to roost"

Anonymous said...

I hear they asked the Chinese to buy Jackson, then Japan, and finally Mexico. No takers.

Anonymous said...

I assume Stokes is caring for his wife?

Comp Time Logs Are Public Records said...

"e.All non-emergency overtime and overtime not previously approved by the department director should be suspended."

"Suspended"? In the private sector, people who take it upon themselves to work unapproved overtime are typically fired after one warning letter to the file.

And if a department head is allowing the practice to continue, unaddressed, then he should be fired as well.

How difficult to understand is this concept?

And the same must apply to comp-time, which is allowed in the public sector. If an investigation were to take place, you'd find thousands of cumulative comp-time hours logged by supervisory and upper management staff. This practice was running wild in the old Game and Fish Commission years ago and cost the agency millions to stop.

Anonymous said...

Its hard to budget downward.

Jackson is shell of itself but maintains a geographic area of its former self.

How do you tell entire subdivisions that you are going to let the streets go back to gravel? That you are bot including them in planning for future water use?

That takes leaders....or a state lead emergency manager.

Bankruptcy will dictate the next steps....these fools havent the will or intellect to face reality.

Anonymous said...

Jackson will continue along the same lines as they have for many years. They will continue to elect the same crooked politicians. These crooked politicians will continue to hire their unqualified family and friends just like they always have. The same contractors will pay the crooked politicians under the table for contracts they will not finish.

Anonymous said...

"Sell Tharia Mara."

That place actually makes money for the City, so no.

Anonymous said...

Even more reason to sell it 4:07 while it is making money. Sell high.

Anonymous said...

5:20, that is not the Jackson way. Keep it until it falls apart is the plan. You know up keep isn't in the plan.

Anonymous said...

Can't collect water bills or pave streets but wants to run an airport. Blames everything on "white flight" and the PERCEPTION of crime.

Learn to crawl before you can run. Good luck Jacktown, The City with Soul!

What a joke.

Anonymous said...

9:47, white flight is the only excuse the elected officials have left. It does seem to work for them but a person would wonder how long it will keep their people under their thumb. There has to be a few with common sense and can count.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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