Residents voice concerns over budget

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 19, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; Several Adams County residents came to the board of supervisors public budget hearing Thursday night to ask questions and voice concerns.

Residents reviewed a summary of the proposed budget and comparison with last year&8217;s budget handed out at the meeting.

&8220;We came out in pretty good shape,&8221; Assistant County Administrator Charlie Brown said. &8220;We&8217;re .6 mils lower than last year because other revenues had substantial increases.&8221;

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The proposed budget for the next fiscal year totaled $22,915,914. Last year&8217;s budget totaled $21,606,053.

The board looked at items to be included in the budget to make sure they were necessary. After another public hearing, they will approve a budget on the department level, and department heads are free to use the money as needed, County Administrator Cathy Walker said.

Most department employees received raises from 3 to 5 percent, Grennell said. A few were merit-based, but most were across the board, he said.

During this year&8217;s budget process, the board agreed to set up a merit system before they budget again to use next year, Walker said.

They did not raise their own salaries, Walker said, because the state legislature is responsible for supervisors&8217; raises.

Rosa Seyfarth, 139 Upper Kingston Road, raised questions about an increase in the juvenile court&8217;s budget.

The increase comes from hiring two security officers whose salaries were previously paid for out of the sheriff&8217;s budget, Walker said. The officers were hired after two juveniles brought weapons into the building earlier this year, Supervisors President Darryl Grennell said.

Casey Hughes, 214 South Pearl St., said she would like to see a paper or electronic copy of the final detailed budget, and perhaps last year&8217;s, put in the public library so people could access it. Grennell, Walker and Brown agreed it was a good idea and would work to make it happen.

The second public county budget hearing will be Thursday, Sept. 14 at 9 a.m. in the supervisors building on State Street.