Mayor: City of Waveland ends fiscal year with $600k surplus
By Dwayne Bremer
Oct 1, 2013, 19:35
Two years ago the city of Waveland was broke and in danger of going bankrupt.
Today, the city has rebuilt its cash reserves and ended the 2012-2013 fiscal year with a $600,000 surplus, Mayor David Garcia said Tuesday.
"We are proud to have this surplus," Garcia said. "Our department heads have done an outstanding job controlling spending and being responsible with the people's money."
When Garcia took over as mayor in 2010, the city faced a severe budget crisis.
At the time, Waveland had about 130 employees.
The city cut the number of employees to under 50 through layoffs and furloughs and the following year, the city raised millage rates and began to slowly bring back employees.
Garcia said the city now has a total of 95 full-and part-time employees and $2.8 million in cash reserves. Last year, the city saved an additional $600,000, which led to the surplus, he said. Garcia said the city will not put the surplus into reserve, but rather, use the extra cash on a few important projects.
"This is one-time money," Garcia said. "Our objective is to use this money where it is most needed."
One of the projects city leaders are eying is upgrading the city's water and sewer system. The city pays into the Hancock County Utility Authority for water and sewer usage. Garcia said upgrading the system will improve the city's flow rates and lower usage.
"We want to do some smoke testing and camera testing to see if there are leaks and what needs to be improved," Garcia said. "Once we lower the usage, we will be able to lower the rates for our residents."
Other projects under consideration include repairing lift stations and putting funds into beach projects.
"We have various projects we are looking at," Garcia said. "This surplus will allow us to get several things done." Garcia said if the city continues being thrifty, it will allow him and the board of aldermen to do more in the future.
"Our surplus is locked into place in case of a rainy day," he said. "We are going to continue to watch every nickel and continue to improve the city."