Jackson mayor's furlough proposal met with skepticism - WLBT.com - Jackson, MS

Jackson mayor's furlough proposal met with skepticism

The city's budget must be completed by Sept. 15. Source: WLBT The city's budget must be completed by Sept. 15. Source: WLBT
Yarber's plan to raise property taxes, hike up fees, and furlough most city employees drew criticism and skepticism from some members. Source: WLBT Yarber's plan to raise property taxes, hike up fees, and furlough most city employees drew criticism and skepticism from some members. Source: WLBT
Barrett-Simon said some of those fee hikes are exorbitant. Source: WLBT Barrett-Simon said some of those fee hikes are exorbitant. Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (WLBT) -

No shortage of opinions in Monday's budget hearing to hammer out a plan for the city of Jackson.

"We want to be sure that what we're doing as an administration is not only shoring up what's happened in the past, but I also want to make sure that we're setting a clear course going forward," said Jackson Mayor Tony Yarber.

That course didn't appear too clear to some Jackson City Council members during the meeting.

Yarber's plan to raise property taxes, hike up fees, and furlough most city employees drew criticism and skepticism from some members.

"What sort of alternatives did we come up with before we looked at furloughs?" Councilwoman Margaret Barrett-Simon asked during the meeting.

That question has not been answered yet.

"I think that we do the best job or our greatest work by not having to take people's jobs away," Yarber said.

"I don't want to furlough people for two years and then be in the same boat three years from now and then have to fire people," Councilman Melvin Priester Jr. said.

Barrett-Simon said some of those fee hikes are exorbitant.

"I just don't want us to make decisions on the backs of the people who can least afford it and not look at other alternatives," Barrett-Simon said.

"What we don't want to see is when we're still supporting an antiquated system that puts us in a position where the city can't afford to sustain itself," Yarber said,

Yarber's reasoning stands: make sure the city's budget is balanced and kept in check for the months and years ahead.

Priester said the deliberations make sure everyone in that room has the city's best interests at heart.

"We gotta figure out what happened between when Mayor Lumumba got elected two years ago and where we are now, because it seems to be a big change," Priester said.

Priester said at this point, until they get more clarification on revenue numbers, they can't really discuss whether it would be approved.

The city's budget must be completed by Sept. 15.

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