Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Priester Speaks on Public Works

Jackson Ward 2 City Councilman Melvin Priester, Jr. provided an update on the budget hearings on Facebook last week:

Not to repeat, but seriously, read the presentation from public works.

More than any other element of the budget, it's the area where you have a real "fork in the road" set of choices with different pros/cons to each.

The City has been supplementing (i.e. loaning money to) the budget for public works. Those loans to public works have left us with no room to increase spending in other areas such as public safety and we're out of room to keep supplementing the public works budget. 

The proposal on the floor is to borrow funds to make a variety of fixes to the water/sewer meters and software and wsba office so that we can generate the revenue you'd expect us to generate if things were working right.
Read the public works presentation.


Posted below is the presentation.  Some highlights are:

* Borrowed from general fund to make debt service payment. Can't make bond payments without borrowing from the general fund.
* EPA wants Jackson to raise sewer rates to meet terms of consent decree.
* Bond insurers want city to raise water/sewer rates to repay said loans and ensure reserve is fully funded. (p.7)
*  Can't fund needed capital improvements to plants, system, and fleet.
* Severe staffing shortage at all levels.
* It will cost $6 million to fix meter, billing, and collection system. (p.14)
*  PW requests general fund budget of $13 million for 2020.  Request last year was $12.4 million but the actual budget was $13.2 million.
* PW requests water/sewer enterprise fund budget of $78.8 million for 2020.  It requested $48.3 million for 2019.  However, the revised budget was $79.2 million.  There was an additional $30 million in capital outlay that was not included in the original budget request last year.
* The solid waste enterprise fund budget remains at $10.3 million.
* City is not meeting requirements of sewer consent decree.  Too many sewer overflows exist.
* Pavement conditions "continue to degrade."
* Plants are operating at less than capacity due to a lack of maintenance.
* Many city buildings are experience disrepair.
* There is not adequate funding for replacement bridges.  More bridge closures are anticipated.
* Landfill is not generating expected revenues. 







24 comments:

Anonymous said...

And wikipedia estimates Jackson is losing over 1100 residents a year. How much more can the TAX PAYING residents take. By the way, the TAX PAYING residents are the ones who are leaving. And, the answer is to borrow more money? I left years ago.

Anonymous said...

The presentation should be accompanied by JSU's marching band playing "Nearer My God to Thee", just as they did in the final moments of the Titanic.

@11:54's mother said...

@11:54 Tomorrow, if the City said they were going to slash spending and let the city hit rock bottom, you'd probably still complain. All of you "I left years ago" people are impossible to satisfy.

Anonymous said...

After the November elections, the entire executive and legislative branches of state government need to step in and analyze Jackson's current overall status and design/implement whatever needs are identified, including bankruptcy.

Anonymous said...

The City of Jackson is the only Land fill that I have ever been to that only excepts cash. Who is in charge of keeping up with the cash money that is received?

Anonymous said...

FUBAR

Anonymous said...

This is all very sad to read. It makes you wonder if Priester has an underground bunker or some other escape plan. He is too informed on the issues not to know that this doesn't end well. You will end up being able to count the entire tax base on one hand before too long.

Anonymous said...

So in real world terms, their credit is in the 400's, the utilities are about to be shut off, the toilet is backing up, and the the rent hasn't been paid. Plus your bookie and drug dealer are wanting their money and you got fired Friday, even on your day off.

Anonymous said...

Public Works should operate a business and fees should cover expenses and debt retirement. The city of Jackson model will not work.

Anonymous said...

11:54 Seriously? Wikepedia as a source for population change ESTIMATES?

Not much doubt that this is a problem facing Jackson, but let's do try to do better with our sources for such statistics.

Anonymous said...

Melvin is partly right in his commentary, but he leaves out a significant fact that he and others on the Council would rather shut their eyes to.

Yes, increasing the Public Works department budget does keep down what can be done with other areas of the city - and Preister mentions public safety.

Good point. But he ignores that the budget could be cut in many other areas that are not a principal purpose of city government - funding for concerts, rodeo sponsorships, donations for non-profit groups that "do good" or or supported by individuals that the council member ma covets their support, and there are many many of these.

Fund Public Safety. Fund Public Works. Then see what is left of my tax dollars that you want to give away to your favorite charities but may not be mine.

Charity should come from an individual pocketbook, not from the public treasury.

The city cut the funds for Public Works road maintenance so seriously ten years ago as a one-year deal to balance the budget but didn't restore it as proposed, thus ignoring the routine paving of streets. And look at where that has left us.

Put appropriate money into the important, real functions of government. Tell those others to look to private groups for their operating dollars.

PittPanther said...

Municipal Bankruptcy: is this an option? All municipal debts wiped, no one Jackson owes gets paid, bonds default (good, that should keep the city from borrowing money again, for the next few decades), start over from $0.

Anonymous said...

PittPanther, once again you show your ignorance. Bankruptcy does not simply dissolve payments owed to others. What did they teach you up there?

Macy Hanson said...

Chapter 9 BK is an option. But, PittPanther, the City would have to repay its (restructured and likely heavily-discounted) debts according to a confirmed plan approved by the BK Judge. It wouldn't be zero cents on the dollar, certainty, but it would likely be closer to zero cents on the dollar than 100 cents.

I like your point about the inability for the City to borrow heavily for a decade or two being a good thing for the City.

Anonymous said...

Fortunately there was enough money to send the airport commissioners and their families to the Paris air show. Oh, excuse me, that was a business development trip.

Anonymous said...

There are really only a few basic functions necessary of a civil government.....public health (i.e. water/sewer/solid waste), public safety (police/fire protection), public transportation (roads/bridges), and minimal administration. Take care of these and do away with EVERYTHING else, and people will be pretty happy.

Anonymous said...

This is so sad. Jackson is beyond bankrupt. No sensible person can identify a path that doesn’t lead to insolvency. Deferred maintenance is a vicious vortex. Water works alone will cripple the system. Roads and bridges is already out of control. The quick fix of laying another layer of asphalt atop layers of asphalt ruins your curbs and gutters and will eventually have to be taken down to the road bed at the cost of 100’s of millions. City vehicles - fire engines, police cruisers, maintenance vehicles and buses are undoubtedly encountering maintenance cost and early depreciation in the millions each year due to road conditions. How are the city parks, libraries, attractions and schools? We all know the answer. All are underwater and on life support.

Deferred maintenance can be extendied outside of the physical realm too if you look at law enforcement. Problem areas have been ignored, punishment is lax and bad aspects turn into festering areas of criminal activity. All citizens live in fear of crime. The poorer citizens have it the worst.

And, when you get into the financial area, you find a city with a current debt maintenance issues that are perilous now and certainly insurmountable in the future. Pensions and bond servicing alone will bankrupt the city.

Jackson is insolvent. Intervention now is the only answer.

Anonymous said...

News flash. You can't borrow your way out of debt.

Anonymous said...

Radical new city. Put orange stripes on the PW vehicles.

Anonymous said...

Jackson is on the verge of death. I was born in Jackson but moved my family to Madison County in the mid-seventies. I could see what was happening and didn't want to be a part of the liberal takeover of the city by all of the incoming welfare folks and the high birth rate of children to single parent (mother) families who would be supported by the taxpayers of the City and the Feds.

Anonymous said...

Bob Miller is doing his best. Charles Williams and Robert Lee are jokes. Bill Miley is the only one who knows where stuff is.

Miller has done a good job of identifying their problems. But they are broken beyond repair, and they need money. Of course they are famous for wasting money if/when they receive it. I have discussed some of their issues with Bennie Thompson, Cindy Hyde-Smith, and Roger Wicker. A big federal check isn't just going to slide down the pipeline. They are going to have to make some strides on their own.

Water, sewer, and garbage should act like a stand-alone business. The rate base should provide the funding, not taxes. Now certainly streets, drainage, and grass cutting should he handled through tax dollars. It's just so screwed up in that city. Years of theft, mismanagement, laziness, incompetence, ineptness, etc. can't be cured overnight. And I fear that it can never be cured. But we can just keep throwing money after it. Like the Jackson Public Schools says, "We would be the top school district in the state if we just had (insert a number here) more dollars."

Cynical Sam said...

@2:17 PM - he is correct. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Jackson population from 2010-2018 has dropped from 173,514 (2010) to 164,422 (2018), a change of 5.3%/9,042, or -1,136/year on average.

Crow is best served warm.

Anonymous said...

First Question: Where is the law suit against Siemens? Any chance of settlement?
Second Question: With this great loss of population, can the schools get by with less administration and waste? Can some of the tax dollars paid to schools be returned to the City?
Third Question: Could one or two new employees in Public Works handle the Consent Decree? We pay a bunch for a fancy consultant to handle the consent decree?
Forth Question: How can the public convince the City to get back to basics? It does adult day care. Couldn't this be handled by a non-profit? It does head start. Couldn't this be handled by something other than the City? We transport seniors. Couldn't this be handled by the County as many others do?
Fifth Question: Would it cause some to lose re-election if the City went to basic function? Police, Fire, Water/Sewer, Streets, Garbage. Shouldn't the traffic violators and other offenders be forced to pick up litter?
Sixth Question: Parks are part of the basics?

Anonymous said...

Priester has always been the smartest person in the room. If the idiotic voters of Jackson wouldn’t have voted on who’s the most popular or the most handsome, he would’ve been mayor. He must really love that hell hole of Jackson cause ain’t no way in hell I would even be living in this state with his resume.

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