By Sue Moore
Vicksburg’s Village Council approved a shorter work week beginning June 1, when village offices were scheduled to re-open.
Village Manager Jim Mallery recommended the change based upon data collected over the past three years. He mentioned staff cut-backs that needed to take place as part of budget reductions the village will need to make as revenues shrink due to COVID-19-related issues. He anticipates state revenue sharing to municipalities will impact the 2020-2021 budget even further once all the numbers are in.
The new hours will be Monday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. with Friday open by appointment with either he or Alex Lee available.
“This is an easy vote,” said Trustee Rick Holmes. “The recommendation is steeped in data.” By keeping track of the number of customers who come in each day, the staff was able to hone in on the busiest times of each day. It turns out that Fridays were the lowest usage hours of the week. A plastic barrier for the customer service desk will be installed before the office officially opens on June 1.
The council also accepted the manager’s recommendation to tear down and rebuild a Department of Public Works pole barn that is 60 years old and leaking badly on the road salt stored in it. Approval was also sought on the purchase of body cameras for the police department at a cost of $40,000 for five cameras and in car connectivity. It approved a grant application to the Vicksburg Foundation for half the cost of the cameras. Lastly a new police cruiser was a 2020 capital expense item that will be put off at least until January 2021, pending the impact of budget reductions across the board.
Mallery also announced that he had reached an operating agreement with the Vicksburg Historical Society that was to be presented for passage at the council’s June 1 regular meeting.
The Council met twice for the same agenda in May. It conducted its business at the originally-scheduled May 18 meeting, then learned that a Zoom link enabling the public to view it wasn’t working due to a software issue.
It met again at noon, May 20. “We need to be transparent for all of our actions with the public. Since the link was inoperative, we did the meeting over to allow any citizen comments and to record the official votes by the council and stay true to the state’s Open Meetings act,” Mallery said.
By Sue Moore