Aldermen discuss budget, salaries and combining police and fire department
Published 8:00 am Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Friday, the Poplarville Board of Aldermen continued discussions about the FY 2017 budget, which included talks about their salaries and overtime hours incurred in the Poplarville Police Department.
In order to balance this year’s budget, which is projected to be $2,299,853, the Board must manage a shortfall of $124,000, previous coverage states.
During Thursday’s budget workshop, Board members discussed giving up their salaries and benefits, including Mayor Brad Necaise’s, to balance the budget. The city’s savings for FY 2017 would be $72,000, previous coverage states.
However, there may be a problem with giving up their salaries.
The majority of Aldermen have retirement credits invested with the Public Employees’ Retirement System of Mississippi and are concerned they may lose credit if they decide to give up their wages.
Poplarville City Clerk Jane O’Neal said, for now, she will keep their wages out of the proposed budget until they hear from PERS.
“Whatever PERS says is my minimum, that’s how much I’ll give up,” Alderwoman Maggie Smith said.
Necaise said he would still give up his pay for FY 2017.
In another matter, the Board discussed costs associated with the Poplarville Police Department, mainly overtime hours for the month of July.
During the last pay period, officers worked 115 hours of overtime, for a total of $2,853, Smith said.
Poplarville Police Chief Butch Raby said, “we’ve been working short handed a lot.”
Since he doesn’t have an investigator, Raby said officers can’t stop and go home during the middle of an investigation.
The Board asked Raby to see if he could prevent overtime from occurring to this degree. They also asked that he provide a written explanation for why an officer worked overtime.
After Raby left the workshop, the Board discussed other options regarding the police budget, one being to combine the fire and police departments into the fire department’s building and put the current building, which houses the police department, up for sale.
O’Neal said she estimates the city could get about $100,000 for that building, which would balance the budget. However, the Board must wait until the Sept. 6 meeting to vote on the matter. It can still be placed in the preliminary budget.
However, O’Neal reminded the Board that they may not see this $100,000 in revenue during FY 2017.
“This is a bare bones budget,” she said. “We’ve cut travel and training by 50 percent across the board. We will have to strictly adhere. There’s no cushion in this budget.”
Aldermen scheduled a budget workshop for Aug. 28 at 1:30 p.m. in the boardroom at City Hall.
The next Aldermen meeting will be held on Sept. 6 at 5 p.m. in the boardroom at City Hall. A budget hearing will be held during the meeting.