Council tables mayor’s cost-cut plan

Proposal would have city employees pay a portion of health insurance premiums

BILOXI

The City Council on Tuesday tabled Mayor A.J. Holloway’s proposal for employees to help pay their health-insurance premiums.

Holloway suggested employees contribute $100 a month for individuals and $200 a month for family coverage, one of what he said would be several cost-cutting proposals he plans to make.

The mayor’s proposed ordinance to reduce longevity pay from $15 a year to $6 had a first reading and will be brought up again at an April 6 meeting.

“I think it’s time to take another look at it,” Councilman Tom Wall said.

Ed Gemmill, David Fayard and George Lawrence, members of the council’s insurance committee, will meet with the city’s health insurance agent before a workshop is scheduled on cutting spending.

Holloway said trimming these two employee benefits is not going to solve the city’s financial problems and he has several more proposals for the council.

He and Gemmill said employees shouldn’t drive city vehicles home. Gemmill also suggested raising medical deductibles and cutting back on utility usage at peak times. He said the city needs to collect overdue court fines, eliminate capital projects that require a local match, stop paying for uniforms and laundering for public-works employees and freeze longevity pay for a year or two.

Stephen Theobald, a CPA with Piltz, Williams, LaRosa and Company presented the preliminary audit for Biloxi’s fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2009. It showed every department spent less than what was budgeted. But because revenues were $3.1 million below projections, the city spent $1.7 million more from the general fund than was collected.

Gemmill said the city has a spending problem and needs to start looking for solutions quickly.

By MARY PEREZ – meperez@sunherald.com

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