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City of Jackson makes major budget cuts including it's employees

A fiscal year 2020 budget for millage rates was proposed at Tuesday's Panama City Commission meeting. (MGN)
A fiscal year 2020 budget for millage rates was proposed at Tuesday's Panama City Commission meeting. (MGN)(WJHG)
Published: May. 27, 2020 at 5:57 PM EDT
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Jackson City Council is making a $2.6 million cut to it's budget for the next fiscal year.

The decision was made during a council meeting Tuesday night.

The dramatic cut is to make up for loss revenue for the COVID-19 crisis.

The budget cut includes eliminating 19 job positions.

The jobs vary from full-time to part-time and the city's public information officer said the cuts will primarily affect those in the treasurers office, attorneys office, and parks and recreation employees.

Some of the positions that are being eliminated aren't currently filled, so the city will not seek to fill the position during this time.

Aaron Dimick, Jackson's Public Information Officer said, "The biggest job reduction is of the Jackson Police Department. We're seeing people like cadets or school service liaison offers, things like that, who are no longer going to be employed."

Although the cutbacks are significant, the city said these actions need to be done to prevent further financial problems.

Dimick said eliminating the job positions will save over $1 million.

He said,"Looking at that $2.6 million the staff reductions are a big part of that, well over a million dollars. That is people's salaries but it also counts for their benefits and them as employees," said Dimick.

The city is also reducing the amount of programs that will continue.

All summer programs have been canceled including access to the city's community pool.

Jackson Mayor Derek Dobies said, "We wanted to make sure we preserve as much essential services as possible.

The new budget will go into effect at the start of the fiscal year July 1.

During Tuesday's council meeting, City Council created a new park to honor frontline workers and workers who died while on the job.

City Council named the park "Workers Memorial Park."

The park is located on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Jackson.

The mental health agency that uses the building on the park donated the green space because they didn't have use for it.

The park has a playground and four basketball courts.

The city said they will not make any improvements to the park yet due to the major cut in it's budget.

Dimick said, "We want to honor people killed in workplace accidents because we want to raise awareness for safety regulations and have a place to honor those workers.But also it;s bringing on a new importance when we have workers going to work everyday putting themselves at risk for COVID-19."

During City Council's meeting they passed the first reading of the amendment to ban the use of tobacco in Jackson parks and cemeteries.

The city said the ban is to reduce secondhand smoking and litter in the community.

A second reading of the amendment is required in order for the issue to be passed.

The ban would go into effect 30 days after it's passed.

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