Digital First: Hattiesburg budget balanced for the first time in 10 years

Pine Belt

A stack of $100 bills (Nexstar, file)

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WHLT) – In a special meeting on Tuesday, Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker announced the 2021 budgets for the city will be balanced for the first time in 10 years. The 2021 fiscal budget is projected to be a $130,000,000 budget with $59,000,000 directed toward the general fund.

The economic impact of COVID-19 earlier in the year had city leaders concerned about the budget. In April, the mayor issued a reduction in force, which eliminated 68 city jobs. The decision was made in order to balance the city’s budget with anticipation of how long COVID-19 would keep Hattiesburg’s economy down.

Barker said the way the city balances its budget is to make sure city expenses meet the expected revenue. He said the bulk of the budget is for city workers.

In the new budget, minimum wage raises will be seen in every department.

  • Parks and Recreation will receive $12 an hour.
  • Bus drivers and sanitation drivers will receive $15 an hour
  • Water and Sewer will receive $14 an hour.

The new budget includes the city’s commitment to infrastructure and paving streets in every ward. Earlier in the week it was announced that the Department of Transportation has granted Hattiesburg 13.22 million in infrastructure investments, when asked why infrastructure investments move a city forward, the Mayor had this to say:


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