Voicing concerns about the city budgeting process

To the Editor:

Thursday evening, the City of Holly Springs held a public hearing regarding both the city’s and utility department’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

I learned about this meeting, not from the city’s website, not from the various Facebook pages attributed to the city, but from an ad in The South Reporter which is a wonderful hometown newspaper, but I would have thought that the mayor, or his $25,000-a-year chief of staff would have wanted to utilize every medium to get the word out concerning this all too important meeting.

It doesn’t seem that the mayor was all that inclusive regarding this process. Understanding that I have what I feel are some good ideas on fiscal responsibility and a robust knowledge of both writing multimillion dollar budgets and deciphering them, I went to city hall and asked for a copy of the budget well in advance of the hearing so that I could read, comprehend, and if necessary formulate intelligent questions, clarifications, and propositions for the mayor to consider.

Well, as they say, there was no joy in Mudville. I was shocked and astonished that the proposed budget, the budget that any resident can make comments to the mayor about in this hearing, was not available until two and a half hours prior to the scheduled meeting.

It doesn’t seem that the mayor was all that inclusive regarding this process. Undeterred and unfazed I came back right before the meeting and identified some 10 or 12 areas where questions would be appropriate and possibly even pertinent enough to cause the budget to be reconsidered and changed. After asking my questions and receiving some answers, I walked away with an opinion that the mayor of Holly Springs isn’t inclusive. His words say that he is, but his actions, demeanor and bearing are far from it.

This meeting wasn’t for public input, it wasn’t for the free exchange of ideas for the benefit of the community, and it certainly wasn’t for out-of-the-box concepts to reduce the budget or increase revenue.

My perception was that this meeting was staged for meeting statutory requirements of holding public hearings before the adoption of the budget at the next meeting, a “rubber stamp” to say that the mayor fulfilled his duties. Citizens of Holly Springs deserve more than a “rubber stamp.” We deserve to be heard; we need our ideas to be seriously considered; we need true participation in the process; we need a mayor that is paid an annual salary of $90,000 to take us seriously each and every day.

Stacey Humphreys
Holly Springs

Holly Springs South Reporter

P.O. Box 278
Holly Springs, MS 38635
PH: (662) 252-4261
FAX: (662) 252-3388

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