Supervisors approve youth drug court funding

Published 12:11 am Tuesday, July 2, 2013

NATCHEZ — After state cuts reduced the Adams County Youth Drug Court’s funding by 73 percent, the Adams County Board of Supervisors voted Monday to give the court a temporary infusion of cash to tide it over until fresh funds arrive.

Adams County Youth Court Judge John Hudson appeared before the supervisors to request the $13,896 necessary to keep three youth court positions — the compliance officer, the prosecutor and the defender — funded until October, when the judge said he expects significant grant funds to arrive.

The court has made a 50-percent reduction in costs at the present, he said.

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“Because of the cuts, we have been in a situation where we have (already) had to lay off two individuals and switched another one to a different position,” Hudson said.

“We have cut ourselves to a bare minimum. We are losing $260,000 (in funding).”

The funds Hudson said he expects to come available in October are from a grant specifically addressed to Mississippi youth and family drug courts.

When Supervisor David Carter asked the judge what he would do if the grant did not come through, Hudson said, “We have scaled ourselves well back, and we will continue to operate (on that scale).”

Carter likewise asked if funds from the juvenile justice center could be used to keep the youth drug court running, to which Hudson replied that such a decision would be one made at the county level. Supervisors’ President Darryl Grennell said the county administrator would have to look at the numbers generated by the center before such a determination could be made.

County Administrator Joe Murray said he would set up a meeting with Hudson and Chancery Clerk Tommy O’Beirne to determine which fund from which the drug court money will be directed.

In other news:

• The supervisors approved the final paperwork needed to offer bonds for the county’s $2.5 million purchase of a warehouse in the Natchez-Adams County port.

Sam Keyes, the board’s bond counsel, said this is the last step needed for the purchase of the warehouse.

The deal is set to close July 24.

• The supervisors learned from County Engineer Jim Marlow that the county had received $711,575 in funds to address outstanding Emergency Watershed Projects, some of which the county has tried to get funded for several years.

• The board presented Fat Mama’s Tamales owner David Gammill and members of the Krewe of Fat Mama’s with a resolution expressing appreciation for the charitable work the group has done, which has included providing support for Natchez-Adams County Search and Rescue and raising funds for The Malt Shop after a car crashed through it, causing significant damage last year.

“We want to make sure that we are enriching Natchez-Adams County; whether it is through a Mardi Gras krewe or helping Natchez-Adams County Search and Rescue, it is about enriching the area and not just about what we can take,” Gammill said. “There are plenty of people who need help, and we are glad to help as we can.”

• Natchez Mayor Butch Brown commended the board for its recent effort to recruit the Mississippi Association of Supervisors’ conference to Natchez.

Even though that effort was unsuccessful, Brown said the city would support any effort the county officials make to bring conventions to Natchez.

• The board recognized Roux 61 as the business of the month.

• The board opened and took under advisement bids for a rail improvement project in the port.