by Calvin Ishee, Associate Publisher
After over ten hours of discussion, debate and wrangling; while being spread out over numerous budget meetings, it appears that the Pass Christian Mayor and Board of Alderman have arrived at a consensus for the 2021-22 City Budget at the official public hearing Wednesday night.
Some of the highlights in next year’s budget includes:
– No raises for the mayor or board; however, the Pass Christian Mayor Jimmy Rafferty wants to address this issue again next year.
– “Market level” increases for Public Works, Beautification, Harbor, Recreation and Water personnel.
– $1 per hour increase for Police and Fire Personnel.
– 3% increase for Department Heads, Assistant Department Heads and all other personnel.
– Adds 4 new positions, 1 Recreation Assistant, 1 Community Affairs Assistant and two Operator level 2 positions for a Public Works
– Increases salaries and operating budget by $612,423
Pass Christian Ward 2 Alderwoman Regina Chalrot once again expressed her concerns regarding the increase in spending.
Charlot noted that if Mayor Rafferty continues on his expenditures of city dollars, Pass Christian residents can expect a tax increase in the coming years.
In fact the Rafferty retorted, “As long as I’m mayor we’re going to be bench marking (salaries with other cities).”
In several past meetings as well as this one, Board members have stressed the need to compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges.
Mayor Rafferty continues to compare Pass Christian (which has over 6,000 people according to the U.S. Census figures) with an annual budget of just over six million dollars to the city of Long Beach that has approximately 18,000 residents with an annual budget of around eighteen million dollars.
Citizens interested in seeing the budget should stop by Pass Christian City Hall on Scenic Drive.
The final vote for the adoption of this budget has been set for September 13, 2021, 6 pm at the Frank Wittmann Pass Christian Municipal Court Room.