Thursday, July 31, 2008
Budget requests trickle in
By SUE WATSON
Summer is the time of year when local governments start planning for the next fiscal year. As they do, community groups and department heads come in requesting funds.
At the county board room recently, supervisors heard a request from Stephanie Movre, tourism director for the city of Holly Springs, and Kent Bain with the Mississippi Hills Heritage Area Alliance.
They asked for a contribution of $5,000 the Heritage Area would use for promotion of tourism in the 30 counties in north Mississippi. She said the tourism bureau is not bringing in enough revenue with the tourism tax yet to put the request on its budget. Counties typically are participating since cities and towns usually don’t have enough in their budget, she said.
When pressed by supervisors to know if Holly Springs would match the county’s appropriation, Movre said she did not intend to ask the city for help since mostly counties participate.
Supervisor Keith Taylor asked if the county was willing to help, could it ask for Potts Camp, Byhalia and Holly Springs to “go in with us.”
The board motioned to take the request under advisement.
Don Randolph, county superintendent of education, made another appearance before the board to ask supervisors to provide four school resource officers. He has asked for five, but said he will ask the school board to finance one safety officer, so he will only ask Sheriff Kenny Dickerson for four deputies to work with the schools.
“These officers are very important to us,” he said. “We need them.”
Randolph asked supervisors to answer the school board’s request to budget one mill to pay for an in-school GED program to help lower school dropout rates.
“I want to know in a week, if possible,” he said. “The school board has to have its budget to the county by August 15.”
Up next was county coroner James Anderson. He requested a cooler to keep corpses in that could not be shipped immediately to Jackson for autopsy. Refrigeration stops or slows decomposition and odor production, he said.
“Some families have been upset at not being able to view the body,” he said.
Anderson was asked to bring some prices for a cooler to the board for consideration.
Stacey Norman, director of Enhanced 911, asked the board to destroy dispatch logs, audiorecordings and printouts for the years 1995 through 2003.
“We have major storage issues,” she said.
Statutes require 911 to keep the dispatch logs and 911 printouts for three years and audiotapes for 90 days, she said.
“I prefer to be on the safe side and keep all three for five years,” she said.
There is no recorder that will play old tapes, she said.
“All three items she asked to destroy are within the law,” said board attorney Kent Smith.
The board voted to grant Norman’s request.
Zoning director Conway Moore discussed numerous lot clean-up orders and requests with the board.
The board authorized the county road department to cut brush on a property on Cayce Road and put the charges on the property holder’s tax bill.
A clean-up order at a property on Waterford Mountain Road was discussed followed by a motion from the board to advertise for a clean-up to be opened August 4.
Although some progress is being made at the site, Moore offered to go on-site with the owner and point out items that needed removing.
The board accepted a bid of $3,500 to clean up a property owned by Apostolic Tabernacle Church on Goodman.
A property on Tyro Road is nearly cleaned up by the owner, Moore said.
In the county attorney’s report, Kent Smith recommended the county proceed with a trustee’s notice of sale of the Lighthouse Plastics property in the Holly Springs Industrial Park.
The property is under forclosure order by the county because payments are in arrears - while the county is involved because it gauranteed the loan to the buyers.
Chancery clerk Chuck Thomas requested two more security cameras be purchased to cover all areas in the courthouse. Two cameras have already been installed.
The board approved the mid-July claims docket for invoices totalling $137,800.
In the supervisors’ report, George Zinn III asked for a motion to pave more roads in District 4 to bring the miles of unpaved road to par with other districts.
Supervisors Ronnie Joe Bennett and Willie Flemon voted with Zinn to authorize the prioritization of a long list of gravel roads in his district.
Taylor quickly objected, saying the way Zinn’s motion read, it “sounded like these roads come before anything else in the county.”
Supervisor Eddie Dixon said he has a lot of gravel roads left in his district.
A heated discussion followed, ending with Bennett withdrawing his vote and then Zinn withdrawing his motion.
The board asked the county administrator to come to the next meeting with a list of all the unpaved (graveled) county roads in each district.
Supervisors meet Monday, July 28, at 6 p.m. to discuss budget issues with departments. The meeting is open to the public.
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