Meridian Residents Voice Concerns at Budget Hearing

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Meridian, Miss. A crowd packed the Meridian City Council Chambers Tuesday evening, but only thirteen residents addressed the council. Several voiced their support of the Mayor's proposals, saying the raises for his appointees are in line with, or even less than comparable positions across the State. Johnnie Delk told council members she wants them to back the Mayor. "We don't need no stalemate", Delk said. "We need jobs here, and Percy's the one to get this city rolling. If we didn't need him in there, we wouldn't have elected him. We elected him to move this city, and I want the city council to work with him and not put on Facebook what they're gonna do. Call his office. Be a woman or a man and sit down and talk to him and work the problem out."
One of the Mayor's proposals is to change companies for the city's health insurance, a move that would save $280,000 each year, more than enough to cover the Mayor's salaries and program requests. Mayor Bland says his proposed budget does not call for a tax increase. But concerned citizen John Martin says there's just one way to describe anyone who says Meridian residents won't have to pay more taxes. "They're wrong," said Martin. "The school board already passed a two mill increase for it's budget and for some reason, be it politics or other, they have to accept the school budget as submitted. So there's going to be a 2 mill increase, which is about $600,000. So anybody who doesn't believe there's a tax increase, is confused."
New city councilman Dustin Markham says it's still to early to tell. "We have to look at what the county's numbers are," explained Markham. "We've already received the city school's numbers but once we look at the county's and see exactly what one mill will bring in our millage rate this year, then we will be able to determine if that's something that's going to have to be done."