No firm decisions yet on how supervisors will handle next year’s county budget
Published 4:46 pm Monday, August 21, 2023
NATCHEZ — What exact steps the Adams County Board of Supervisors will take to make certain revenues and expenses balance in its fiscal year 2023-24 budget, it seems the result will be a combination of expense cuts, property tax increases and garbage collection fee increases.
Monday’s meeting of the board of supervisors was highlighted by two executive sessions that lasted more than an hour and a half in total. County Attorney Scott Slover said the closed sessions were in order to discuss personnel issues and two matters of potential litigation involving economic development.
After the board’s executive sessions ended, the upcoming fiscal year budget was discussed in public, but no firm decisions were made.
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District 2 Supervisor Kevin Wilson made a motion for a resolution to cut the budgets of all county departments by 10 percent with the exception of the county’s road department, which Wilson said could not operate with other budget cuts. District 1 Supervisor Wes Middleton seconded Wilson’s motion.
However, after brief discussions about budget cuts in the Adams County Sheriff’s Office, District 3 Supervisor Angela Hutchins, seconded by District 4 Supervisor Ricky Gray, further amended Wilson’s proposed resolution to not cut the sheriff’s office until discussions could take place with Sheriff Travis Patten about the effect such cuts would have on his office’s ability to safeguard the county.
Patten was expected to sit down with Chuck Lambert, with whom the county has contracted to produce its budget for the next fiscal year, and discuss specific cuts.
In discussing the budget, Wilson said cuts must be made.
“We can’t even raise taxes as much as we need to raise them in order to cover,” the current proposed budget expenses, Wilson said.
He further said in cutting department budgets, the supervisors were not telling department heads what or who to cut within their budgets, but “we are telling you we don’t have the money.”
As for funds to pay for the county’s garbage collection, Lambert asked supervisors how they plan to address the issue. He said thus far during the current fiscal year, “you are $541,000 in the hole as of today.”
Board President Warren Gaines said after Lambert meets with Patten, the supervisors would call a special meeting for later in the week, which the board calls “coming out of recess,” and would adopt a new garbage collection rate at that time, as well as make other budget decisions.
By state statute, the county must have its budget work completed by Sept. 15 for the new fiscal year that begins on Oct. 1, Lambert told the board.