City Of Columbus Facing A More Than $800,000 Deficit, Chief Financial Officer Now Placed On Suspension

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COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)- As the 2019 fiscal year gets off to an early start, the city of Columbus already finds itself in a huge financial hole.

The city is currently facing a deficit of $881,000.

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During Tuesday’s city council meeting, in executive session, city leaders voted to suspend its Chief Financial Officer for 16 working days without pay and place the city employee on a six month probation, according to multiple sources.

Sources tell WCBI the city’s CFO is Milton Rawle.

The huge shortfall that Columbus is now tasked with overcoming has caught many council members by surprise.

Here’s a breakdown of how the city got to this point.

According to city officials, $460,000 is from over spending on expenses, with the majority of those expenses coming from overtime that was paid to multiple city departments.

The other $421,000 comes from shortfalls on revenue from this past fiscal year.

Mayor Robert Smith admits there was some neglect, and said the board should’ve been notified as to where they stood and how much money they had.

“We’re going to have to be more frugal in our spending,” said Mayor Smith. “Majority of it was overtime. With overtime, when you discuss the big three, the police department, the fire department, and the public works department, those are the three departments where most of the overtime occurs, and it’s more with the police and fire departments. We’re working on decreasing some of the overtime in every way that we can to get to where we need to be.”

Right now, city leaders are working to come up with ways to overcome this large deficit.

Mayor Smith said the city does have reserves it can use to help them overcome this shortage.

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