Former Legislator George Flaggs, now Mayor of Vicksburg, is warning city officials to prepare for financial setbacks related to emergency spending cuts of the state budget by Governor Phil Bryant. The Vicksburg Post reports that Flaggs discussed the potential effect of the cuts on the city with city division heads Friday, and has asked accounting director Doug Whittington to look at the potential effect on the city’s fiscal 2018 budget and the city’s bond debt.
“This has got to be very severe,” he said. “University Medical Center is talking about laying off because they have to absorb $35 million. When you start having to cut health care, it’s serious.
“Another indictor is the (drop in) gaming revenue, and it must be serious when the governor goes out and cries in the hall for the Legislature to adopt a lottery. They’re looking for revenue. This board had been very cautious in our projections and in our spending.”
Presently, Vicksburg has been seeing an increase of sales tax revenues over the past four year. The city reimbursed 18.5 percent of all revenue from the state’s 7 percent sales tax collected in the city.
According to the city’s accounting department, 2014 sales tax collections totaled $7.71 million, or about $61,210 more than collected in fiscal 2013. Collections for fiscal 2015 were $158,076 more than the previous year, while fiscal 2016 collections totaled about $88,361 more than fiscal 2015.
Year-to-date, collections for the first quarter of fiscal 2017 are 25 percent higher than the same period in 2016.
Flaggs, however, plans to remain cautious.
“We have been very conservative with our budgets, but I felt I have to be open with the department heads and the public and let them know what’s ahead,” he said after the meeting. “Whether I’m part of the next administration or not, they are going to have to deal with this.”