The Meridian city council is expected to vote on the fiscal year 2020 budget Monday, following a public hearing.
It is not clear whether the plan will include a property tax increase of 2 mills to account for a gap in revenue, as has been discussed in some recent meetings.
At a work session Friday, Mayor Percy Bland presented a version of the budget without a tax increase, which council members had requested this week.
That version includes more than $680,000 in cuts, including six unfilled funded police positions for a total of nearly $330,000.
Other possible cuts include:
- $100,000 for Lakeview golf course
- $25,000 to help fix the air conditioner at a fire station
- $227,000 in unfilled funded public works positions, including welder, engineer, and survey party chief
Councilman George Thomas, who represents Ward 1, said he would consider a 1 mill tax increase to keep the police positions in the budget.
Bland said while he did not like the idea of a tax increase, Meridian is in need of revenue.
“We’re going to continue to try to do whatever we can, most efficiently as we can, within these departments, based on the budget,” Bland said. “But at the end of all this, we cannot continue to operate this city without having some additional revenues with the city.”
In a news release Friday, Bland announced that Moody's Investment Inc. had reevaluted Meridian's credit rating and removed the negative outlook from the city's A2 rating.
“After reviewing the finances of the City and the Administration based on their stringent credit analysis process, Moody's determined the City was moving in the right direction,” Bland said in the statement.
According to a Moody's credit opinion provided by the city, Meridian's credit strengths include a growing tax base, improved alignment of revenues and expenditures in fiscal years 2018 and 2019, and a satisfactory reserve position.
The city's credit challenges include low socioeconomic indicators, high pension burden and fixed costs, and a sizable outstanding consent decree related to the city's sewer system, the opinion said.