Public hearing set to discuss upcoming budget

MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - Meridian residents can attend a public hearing on the new fiscal year’s budget Monday.

The council met Friday afternoon to discuss a new budget draft with no tax increase.

“We’re still not fully agreed on what will be," said Ward 1 Councilman George Thomas. "I think the majority of the persons that were in this discussion today are in favor of no tax increase."

Mayor Percy Bland says if the current budget is approved, several police officer positions and programs like public works would lack employees. He also says infrastructure could be affected.

“We continue to cut and right now we’re not maintaining our public spaces, our green spaces the way we need to," said Mayor Bland.

Ward 5 councilman Weston Lindemann expressed he would like to see the city move forward with the current draft that includes no tax increase.

Council president Tyrone Johnson says he doesn’t mind an increase if the extra funds will help the city go forward.

“I don’t want the same thing to happen this year like it did last year," said Johnson. "I want to actually see some progress, I want to see the quality of life for some of our citizens here change.”

Mayor bland says after Monday's hearing, the council will vote on a budget.

“Whichever budget is passed we will work as hard as we can as an administration to provide those services to our people based on the resources in that budget," said Mayor Bland.

During the meeting, the council heard from a financial adviser who says Meridian is moving in the right direction overall. This comes after the council voted 3-2 to have a state auditor help with the upcoming budget.