City of Osceola proposes unexpected budget cuts

Updated: Jan. 22, 2020 at 10:24 PM CST
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OSCEOLA, Ark. (KAIT) -In Mississippi County, a city is making some major changes after some unexpected proposed budget cuts.

On Tuesday afternoon, the city of Osceola called a special council meeting to present the 5% cuts from all departments and 10% cut from general administration.

According to Mayor Sally Wilson, the following are a few among the proposed budget cuts:

  • Main Street Program (all funding)
  • Soup kitchen, Homeless shelter (SHIFT program) (all funding)
  • Overtime from Osceola Animal Control
  • Parks and Recreation (5% of funding)
  • $175,000 to trim trees every three years
  • Two job positions in the electric department
  • City-wide Easter egg hunt
  • City General (10% of funding)
  • Lobbyist

Region 8 News asked Mayor Wilson what the reason is behind the budget cuts.

“The proposed salary given to the council on about Nov. 27 had a $144,000 surplus," Wilson said. “Currently, the city has about $1 million set aside for emergencies. I take it to understand that the council wants to build a bigger surplus to cover any large emergency in the future.”

After the news was released about the cuts on Tuesday evening, Osceola City Council member Tyler Dunegan asked to call another special budget meeting on Wednesday afternoon for the council to be presented the proposed cuts made by the mayor and city department heads.

Community gathers with Osceola mayor and city council Wednesday night to discuss $980,000...
Community gathers with Osceola mayor and city council Wednesday night to discuss $980,000 proposed budget cuts.

“We did not want any city services cut, and we did not want anything that would affect the citizens ultimately," says Dunegan.

Although Wilson says she doesn’t think the 5% percentage proposal is necessary, she and the department heads had to make tough decisions to meet the council’s request.

“It’s going to affect them. It is going to affect city services," Wilson said.

While breaking down the proposed budget to the community and council during the meeting Wednesday, Wilson asked for the community to bear with them and to come together to help city resources like the Main Street and homeless shelter programs.

“You know, open up your pocketbooks and help them. Donate to Main Street Osceola and help them out," Wilson said.

The council is scheduled to meet again Monday, Jan. 27 to further discuss the 2020 budget and hopes to finalize it by Thursday, Jan. 30.

As more information becomes available, we will update you on our Region 8 News app.

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