Thursday, August 18, 2016

Jackson budget follies begin

Jackson Ward 2 City Councilman provided these updates from the budget hearings on his Facebook page this morning:


Yesterday, we went through the police, department, public works, and fire department's proposed budget. The math is right on the line, but it looks like we don't need to do a water sewer rate increase if water billing actually improves.

What's interesting about that is that it is a result that contradicts the recommendation we received from Raftelis, the consultants we hired to analyze our system and rates for $750k two years ago.

On the one hand, I posted months ago that I would not vote for a water rate increase because of the failure to get our house in order.

On the other hand, the numbers and explanation presented differ from the analysis we paid the experts big money to generate. Raftelis is proving to be another example of paying big money to hire consultant whose advice we ignore or who get fed bad information or who get paid to tell us what we already know.

If we are turning a corner in water sewer, that is awesome and one of the few bits of good news we've gotten lately. But if our maintenance costs go up just a bit or our revenue is down just a bit from what is proposed, we'll have no choice but to raise water rates mid-year.

Overall, the city is facing a big budget deficit. The solution presented by the mayor so far is to have a property tax increase to increase revenue by between 3 to 4 million dollars, eliminate unfilled positions in the police and fire departments to save approximately 3million, elimnate unfilled positions in public works, cut back on the operations and maintenance budget in public works and cut in half the amount of money the city holds in reserve in case of an emergency. Add on to that a few staff reductions in city hall to save a few hundred thousand, that's what has been presented so far.

Today we will hear from department's like parks and human and cultural services where there look to be substantial cuts proposed to youth programs. Will let you know what's on the table once we get clarity as to where the cuts genuinely fall. There was a great deal of conflict earlier in the week because the budget as given to us did not accurately present the true scope, location, and depth of the cuts proposed.
This update was posted Tuesday:

Day 2 of budget hearings just wrapped up.

I had hoped that by giving the Mayor an extra week to prepare, we would have a solid budget proposal to work from.

Instead, the budget proposal is full of holes.

Rather than input what they are actually proposing into the budget, they've literally peppered the budget with random minus signs. So, for example, the budget proposal reads that we are going to keep funding for the zoo the same, but then when you start to talk about the zoo they go "oh, actually we are really proposing to cut the zoo budget by 25%. See that minus behind a number in the column for something completely unrelated a couple of pages away, that's the placeholder we made for a budget cut until we figure out what to really do."

I'm not kidding. That is what is actually happening.

Likewise, the mayor's outside budget consultant began this affair yesterday morning saying that there are 7.56 million worth of cuts in his proposal. At the end of two days, however, nobody has been able to show 7.56 million worth of cuts because "departments are still identifying what and where they can cut." Frighteningly, even when a department head identifies a cut, two seconds later we're told that the recomendation will be different and ignore that number.

This is the definition of being trickle truthed. The counsel can't honestly assess this proposal because the numbers written down are not the actual proposal. It's like they hope that we won't grasp what's actually being proposed because the line items we really focus on aren't being changed, it's these "placeholders" that are being sprinkled in where the cuts are.

Police, fire, and public works are up for tomorrow. The cuts proposed on police seemed big even before today. Now that we know the extent to which the budget is such an unfixed proposal, it is going to be a particularly Herculean task to discuss these departments and to track where the money is moving and set a true budget that is best for the city.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Paid a consultant 3/4 million dollars for nothing?

Anonymous said...

Pray for the COJ. Broken down on so many levels.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the "mayor's outside budget consultant" is the same one he uses for his personal budget?

Anonymous said...

Another property tax increase? Jackson is LOST and Yarber is kaput.

Anonymous said...

Just what Jackson needs, a property tax increase. Has anyone given any thought to all of the abandoned houses in Jackson. Raising the tax rate to cover up the lack of leadership may bring more abandoned houses. If there is any business left in Jackson look for it to be shopping the suburbs.

Anonymous said...

Just what we need. Give me people another reason not to want to live in Jackson. Genius! I'm so sick of inept, uneducated people leading this city. We simply need a business mind who can add/subtract and think logically. Jesus Christ...we have a mayor who couldn't even pay his mortgage...or chose not to. Either way, he's a clown with no ability to run even a lemonade stand. God, please help us!!

Anonymous said...

Did Jackson check into Raftelis before hiring them?

Did Flint Michigan recommend them for the work Raftelis did there?

Anonymous said...

Wake me when it's over........

Milking Jackson Cash Cows said...

### Metro Ad Valorem Millage Rates (2014-2015) ###

Jackson = 61.03 mils (<< Yarber's Tax Confiscation)

Jackson = 58.03 mils

Canton = 56.32 mils

Edwards = 47.0 mils
Clinton = 41.49 mils

Bolton = 36.3 mils
Byram = 34.1 mils
Flora = 34.5 mils
---> AVERAGE = 33.03 mils <---

Brandon = 29.0 mils
Madison = 28.8 mils
Terry = 27.85 mils
Pearl = 27.5 mils
Raymond = 25.62 mils
Florence = 22.9 mils
Ridgeland = 20.03 mils
Flowood = 20.0 mils

Richland = 19.0 mils

*excludes County & School District

Anonymous said...

Easy to understand. Too many on the teet, and too few to pay. Hell, even the mayor doesn't pay. What a joke. And, now they want to take the easy path, and milk us even more. Recipe for disaster. More reason to leave. Idiots!

Anonymous said...

That is one reason why I live in FLOWOOD!!!

Low taxes and EXCELLENT police.

Anonymous said...

People cannot expect much from a city that would elect a person for mayor that could not make his own house payments. Most of the Jackson citizens do not have to worry about the taxes as they do not pay taxes.

Anonymous said...

What a great plan - let's raise property taxes. Here is why they get away with it:

It doesn't affect a large percentage of the voting base since they either rent, drive a old POS with minimal tag costs, or drive a new car and get a tag in another county.

The Fondren and Belhaven crowd think it is actually doing some good and have so much white guilt they take it.

The Eastover and JCC crowd don't like it, but have enough money to not care.

The remaining try like hell to sell their house and move away to a neighboring county to avoid the madness.

Rinse and repeat for every administration.

every donut needs a hole in the middle said...

There is a reason they are called ring suburbs.

Anonymous said...

What should we do about balancing the City's budget Amos? Duhhh I don't Andy, I thought you knew...

Anonymous said...

Name the two best things coming out of the City of Jackson: I-20 and I-55...

Anonymous said...

Embedded for Jacksonians is the 2-mil prop tax increase ol' Uncle Ben Allen sold to taxpayers as a temporary increase during Melton's term.

Anonymous said...

Bend over Jackson. Priester now saying city "is on the ropes" and tax increases must be north of Yarber's proposal.

Real Estate Market said...

Just yesterday I saw the really nice FBI headquarters building out on Echelon Parkway in Ridgeland. What's left in Jacktown? Is it the new Birmingham? Detroit? Memphisto?

Anonymous said...

Hinds County also going up 1 mil. They are just draining the corpses.

Anonymous said...

Going to have to go up quite a bit to get enough from the three remaining tax payers left in Jackson.

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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.

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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.


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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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