County hears budget requests in special meeting

Published 6:48 pm Monday, September 12, 2022

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NATCHEZ — Adams County’s Board of Supervisors continued its work with the county’s proposed budget for the 2023 fiscal year in a special called meeting Monday morning.

The meeting began with County Administrator Angie King explaining that $1.855 million in grant funding, which hasn’t been received, will need to be paid for from general fund balances.

The grant from FEMA was for “leaners and hangers,” meaning the trimming of limbs and trees along the roadway. The work has been done, but FEMA has yet to pay the county the grant money for the work.

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County officials think they will eventually receive those grant funds, but not during the current fiscal year.

King explained she mistakenly put that grant accounting in the road department’s fund when it should have gone elsewhere.

District 4 Supervisors Ricky Gray and District 3 Supervisor Angela Hutchins took King to task for presenting them with a budget with increases and decreases in individual county departments without first receiving board approval.

King said she sent a letter to department heads asking them about their budget needs for the coming year. Some did not respond. She said she then looked at the budgets of those departments and made decision on leaving it on taking out monies they did use during the previous year.

“The county administrator doesn’t have a vote. We have to make those decisions,” Gray said.

“Why are we here? We usually have these meetings in August,” Gray said.

“We are behind,” Hutchins said.

Supervisors spent most of their time scrutinizing budget requests from the Adams County Sheriff’s Office and the Office of Emergency Management.

Sheriff Travis Patten is asking for raises for his deputies, who he says are some of the lowest paid in the area, despite raises given during the current fiscal year.

Board President Wes Middleton, District 1 supervisor, told Patten the county cannot compete with private sector pay.

“At some point, we are just chasing our tails,” Middleton said.

“We are just trying to be competitive with other agencies our size,” Patten said.

“If we are talking about the prison or Mississippi Highway Patrol, we can’t keep up with that,” Middleton responded.

Supervisor Gray said, because of the almost $2 million the county has spent before being reimbursed by FEMA, increases may not happen.

“The supervisors right now have do deal with the money we have. Right now we need to be addressing needs. Maybe later we can address wants,” he said.

No decisions were made at the special meeting on the budget.