Supervisors tackle Justice Court raise request

Published 12:04 am Wednesday, August 10, 2016

NATCHEZ — The Adams County Board of Supervisors continued its budget planning meetings Tuesday, stopping shy of agreeing to requested raises for Justice Court employees.

Justice Court Clerk Audrey Minor met with the board and proposed a $6,000 annual increase in payroll for the department, which would represent a $2,000 raise for her and a $1,000 raise for four employees.

When board president Mike Lazarus said any raise is ultimately “going to come down to the money we have got” — a reference to the county’s tight fiscal position wrought by declining revenues — Bailey had a proposal that she said could at least compensate for her raise.

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A $5 fee is collected for the clerk for every case, including tickets, that comes through Justice Court, Bailey said.

“If it is collected and given to me, I won’t need the raise,” she said.

When County Administrator Joe Murray said the fee is not currently kept in a separate account — it is lumped in with other Justice Court fines and fees in the budget — Supervisor Angela Hutchins said the county needs to separate it to see how much is actually generated by the fee.

“The state auditor has set the categories (of the budget), and if it is in there it is because it has been put there,” Murray said.

Bailey said she had spoken with justice court clerks in other counties, and they have a similar arrangement to what she has proposed plus a base salary.

“We can set a cap on it if you want,” she said.

Before deciding what to do, the board deferred any action pending Murray finding out from the state auditor’s office if what has been proposed is acceptable in its eyes.

The board also met with representatives from the state health department, the Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Southwest Mississippi Planning and Development District.