The Clarion-Ledger, 7/7/8

Rising debt, a shrinking reserve fund and relatively flat revenue portend another round of tough budget talks for Jackson officials this year.

But Jackson Mayor Frank Melton and other city officials say Jackson is in relatively good shape financially. A comparison by The Clarion-Ledger of debt, savings and other financial indicators of Jackson, Gulfport, Little Rock, Montgomery and Shreveport finds the Mississippi capital in the middle of the pack.

Jackson owes $115.5 million in general obligation bonds, $65 million of which is financing the construction of the Capital City Convention Center. That’s about $654 in debt for every person in the city and more than twice the amount of debt the city had just two years ago.

City Administrator Rick Hill said the debt is manageable. The convention center bonds are being paid for with a special sales tax on hotels and restaurants, while payments on the remaining $50.5 million are covered from the general fund.