Tupelo issues another round of budget cuts

TUPELO – City officials shaved an additional $142,350 from the next fiscal year’s budget in a last-minute attempt to reduce costs before adopting the annual spending plan.
The move will help the municipality cope with what is expected to be a tough economic year and avoid dipping too deep into fund balances.
Mayor Jack Reed Jr. announced the new cuts Tuesday during the City Council’s final budget work session. The group has met numerous times the past few weeks to analyze and tweak the proposed budget.
“Per your request and my request, we have gone back to the departments and said, ‘Let’s look again,’” Reed told the council.
Leaders have until Sept. 15 to adopt it, and it goes into effect Oct. 1. The general fund next fiscal year is projected at $34.7 million, but it could increase as grant money comes in from various sources, said interim Chief Financial Officer Kim Hanna.
Eight municipal departments offered up the last-minute budget cuts by reducing a host of line-item expenses. The council, for example, slashed its travel and advertising budget by more than $10,000 combined. It also trimmed money from its postage and phone line items.
“We weren’t using all of the money we had budgeted for this,” council President Fred Pitts told his colleagues, explaining his reasons for the cuts.
Other departments that trimmed were Personnel, Budget & Accounting, the Executive Department, Development Services, Fire, Public Works and the Police Department.
The Police Department sacrificed the most with $85,000, in part by forgoing several new squad cars it had hoped to replace.
The last-minute budget reductions were the latest in a string of expense slashing that each department incurred as a result of the weak economy. Reed said the measures are necessary to avoid layoffs and continue running the city.

Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or emily.lecoz@djournal.com.

Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal