Arkansas city faces budget cuts with hopes of big payoff

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OSCEOLA, Ark. — One Mid-South city is facing large-scale budget cuts with the hope of a future payoff.

Officials of Osceola said the city is hoping for a historic surplus after cutting corners.

"They (city council) set the budget, and when they say to cut it by 5%, we’ve got to cut it by 5%, so this was just the lesser of the evils," Mayor Sally Wilson said.

After eight budget meetings, the City of Osceola is pushing up against its Feb. 1 deadline. The mayor’s office and city council is on the verge of passing a financial plan that would cut the budget of some public departments by 5% and bring a 10% general admin cut as well.

"I think it’s very frustrating for me, it’s very frustrating for our department heads, but it’s called shared government," Wilson said. "I’m the mayor, and they’re the council, and we’ve just got to come together."

Affected areas would include the historic Main Street program, animal control, parks and recreation and tree trimming, but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

Osceola's government is hoping for an historic surplus of more than $1 million by the end of the year.

"I don’t know of any towns our size that try to have a $1.1 million surplus," Wilson said.

In the meantime, the surplus will be available as an emergency fund.

"We’re going to be okay," Wilson said. "We’re gonna figure this out. The money that’s going to be held back in the revised proposed budget will be sitting there. We will be able to access that."

There is another Osceola budget meeting set for Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.

WREG will keep you updated on this story as new information becomes available.

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