FOCUS ON FINANCE
The current administration is faced with challenges such as: restoring the bond rating, repairing an aging infrastructure, recruiting business in a slowly recovering economy, and making sound decisions to position Vicksburg for a promising future. Effectively managing the city’s finances is very important in moving the City in the right direction.
This Board has been focused on sound decision making and looking for ways to save money. One of the first decisions the Board made was instituting a hiring freeze. This move provides an opportunity to evaluate each department and make necessary changes that could improve continuity within departments. It was discovered that 70% of the general fund revenue was being spent on personnel. This is not surprising seeing the services the City offers, but there is still a need to do more with less when possible. Department heads were asked to operate on level funding when the current budget was prepared and there is a commitment by this administration to stop wasteful spending.
The Board has also implemented an advertisement and appropriations policy that will give the City more structure and set guidelines on advertisement spending. Renegotiating the contract with VenuWorks and taking over the management of the Auditorium will show substantial savings for the City. The City is utilizing technology to save money by implementing a vehicle management system in all city vehicles. This system tracks the speed of the vehicle, idling time, and tracks the stops of all vehicles. There has already been a savings discovered along with a decrease in fuel costs. The Board recently voted 3-0 to create a reserve fund that will be operated separately from the general fund. There will be a policy created that will govern how those funds will be used. This move can be beneficial to possibly increasing the bond rating because it will show that there are available funds on hand.
Effectively managing finances will ensure there are funds available for much needed improvements such as: beautification projects, road paving, etc. Restoring the bond rating will ensure the City is able to borrow funds and participate in grant programs that may become available. One thing the citizens of Vicksburg can be assured of is that the City is moving FORWARD and this administration will be conservative with your tax dollars.
Alderman Willis Thompson
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