Adams County to discuss, craft next year’s budget

Published 12:08 am Thursday, August 9, 2012

NATCHEZ — The Adams County Board of Supervisors will begin the process of crafting the budget for the next fiscal year this morning.

The supervisors will meet at 8 a.m. to discuss the budget and some appropriations.

Supervisor Mike Lazarus said one of the biggest appropriations the supervisors will wrestle with will be the amount the county will give the City of Natchez as part of the county’s fire protection plan. The city has asked for approximately $600,000 for the city’s manned fire departments to respond to fires in the county.

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The supervisors recently asked County Fire Coordinator Stan Owens to look into the possibility of creating a county fire program after state insurance officials told them Adams County pays $2,500 more per fire call than any other county in Mississippi.

“The $600,000, that’s a pretty big part of the budget,” Lazarus said. “Stan is putting some numbers and proposals together with some ideas, and after we review that is when we will make our decision.”

Among items that will be discussed will be the county’s annual appropriation to the Adams County Soil and Water Conservation District, a discussion Supervisor David Carter said he would abstain from because he is a member of the SWCD’s board.

Carter said he would also abstain from the presentation of the Adams County Extension Service’s budget. Carter is the extension director for Adams County, a position he held before being elected in 2011.

“I am not going to be presenting any budget, and I won’t vote on (the appropriation for the SWCD or extension service),” Carter said.

Carter said he believes County Administrator Joe Murray has done a good job trimming the fat this year, and he would like to see the county’s employees get raises if it was possible.

“They haven’t gotten (raises) in several years, but we still want to be a functional county with full services while still living within our means,” Carter said.

Supervisor Calvin Butler said changes in county employee cell phone policies and diesel purchasing in the last year have helped save money, and he would have a keen eye for more savings that can be had.

“I am going to look at how we have saved in those categories and how we can continue to save in those areas,” Butler said

“My eyes are definitely going to be on trends, how things have been and the necessity of continuing to have these things, or can they be done away with?”

Supervisors President Darryl Grennell said that in addition to looking at savings, he was also going to advocate that the supervisors create a new position within the county.

The person in the proposed position would serve as a county litter control and illegal dump monitor, and would locate overgrown and nuisance properties, Grennell said.

“This will be a person who can go out and locate dump sites that are being created in the county, and at the same time that same person is going to go out and try to catch people who are littering through the community and place cameras in strategic spots to catch litterers,” he said.

“We are going to use this same person to, while they are out in the county, help with the new mapping system in 911.”

Grennell said the county can apply for a grant from the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality that will pay for a portion of the litter control monitor’s salary for the first couple of years, as well as training and certification.

Supervisor Angela Hutchins and Murray could not be reached for comment.