County must fund new court officer position

Published 12:04 am Tuesday, July 7, 2015

NATCHEZ — Adams County will have to fund a position at the Adams County Youth Court in the coming fiscal year that it has never had to fund before.

The increase in direct costs to the county will be offset, however, by increases in revenue at the county’s juvenile justice center over the past year, officials said.

Adams County Youth Court Judge Walt Brown told the county board of supervisors Monday the state legislature has mandated all youth courts have an intake officer.

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Brown characterized the intake officer position as the court’s “first line of defense when a crime or delinquency case comes before our court” who — among other things — “acts as a liaison between the department of human services and the youth court office when reports of abuse and neglect come in.”

Adams County already had an intake officer, but that position has been paid for by the state through an Adolescent Opportunity Program grant.

“(The legislature) required that every county, every court have an officer and that the salary be paid for by the county,” Brown said. “When they passed this legislation, that effectively ended all grants.”

Brown said the cost increase to the county will come to approximately $32,500 plus fringe benefits.

Adams County Administrator Joe Murray said the amount will not show up as a budget increase since it was previously budgeted, though different revenue sources paid for it.

Supervisor Mike Lazarus said the juvenile justice center’s detention census has been up in recent months, so the amount of revenue for the center has surpassed what was budgeted.

“We are going to have to pay for this anyway, but the good thing is there is some revenue to pay for it,” he said.

Murray said the center has currently surpassed its budgeted revenues by approximately $30,000, and the fiscal year still has three months remaining.

“(The revenues are) going to be $100,000 over the budget by the end of the year,” he said.

Adams County receives payments from other counties for housing juvenile offenders.

Federal law requires juveniles be housed in detention units that meet certain standards and are completely separate from adult detention centers. Adams County’s facility typically houses juveniles from Wilkinson, Franklin, Jefferson and Pike counties — among others — in addition to local youths.

In other news:

4Board President Darryl Grennell spoke of his desire for the state legislature to remove the Confederate battle emblem from the state flag.

Saying he didn’t want to put the other supervisors on the spot and characterizing his comments as a personal plea to the state, Grennell said it “is time to put the Confederate banner aside and move the state forward.”

“People approach me and say, ‘Why do black people bring up the past?’” said Grennell, who is black. “One of the things is we have a flag that is always waving and reminding us of the past.”

The other supervisors did not comment on the matter.

–The board voted to accept the tax rolls from Tax Assessor Reynolds Atkins.

–The board voted to accept the recommendation of County Tower Inspector Spencer Stutzman to allow T-Mobile to add six antennas and the associated cabling, transmission and receiving equipment to an existing tower on Honeybee Lane.

The equipment will serve as the second set of antennas T-Mobile has installed in preparation of the company’s entry into the Adams County cellular market.

–The board voted to approve a cash request for the von Drehle Development Infrastructure Project, which is being funded by a state grant.

The board approved payments from the grant funds of $2,205 for engineering and $91,905 to Midway Construction.

The board also voted to advertise for engineers for a development infrastructure project related to the location of Delta-Energy in Adams County.

–The board met in executive session to discuss the Delta-Energy project, but did not take any action following the session.