Hearing set for county budget

By Russell Hood The Webster Progress-Times

WALTHALL — Webster County supervisors have set a public hearing for 10 a.m. Aug. 31 to accept comments from the public regarding a proposed increase in ad valorem taxes.

Revenue proposed to be collected through the new tax levy will increase only about $20,000 compared to this fiscal year. The county is now operating with projected total budget revenue of $8.25 million, of which 66 percent, or $5.45 million, is obtained through ad valorem taxes.

For fiscal year 2012-13, the proposed budget has a total projected revenue of $7.22 million. Of that amount, 75.7 percent, or $5.46 million, is proposed to be financed through a total ad valorem tax levy.

The current total budget is larger than the one proposed for next fiscal year because of federal and state disaster funds received for debris cleanup following the April 2011 tornado, county officials explained.

For next fiscal year, the county plans to increase the ad valorem millage rate by half a mill from 113.21 to 113.71 mills, according to a notice of the hearing and proposed tax increase being published in the Progress-Times.

Budget Details Pat Cummings, president of the Board of Supervisors, on Monday explained some of the reasons for the planned property tax increase to fund the new budget that takes effect Oct 1.

A major impact upon the millage rate is that the board has budgeted a general county mill to bring in $46,118, which is $1,238 less than in the current fiscal year.

Also, the board has budgeted $70,000 for a facility to house state inmates by the county jail. Sheriff Tim Mitchell updated supervisors Monday on that budget request

He said state Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps told him that eligible state inmates may be available after the first of the year who could be housed here and who would serve as trusties on work details. The Mississippi Department of Corrections pays counties $20 a day for each state inmate housed.

Additionally, the county has budgeted funds for the CodeRED notification service, which will provide telephone notifications to residents about severe weather and boil water notices, for example. The Eupora Board of Aldermen has voted to contribute $2,000 a year for the next two years to the county to participate in the program.

Another funding allocation is $40,000 for the proposed tricounty economic development alliance.

The county has budgeted a half-mill to repay a planned bond issue that will fund the purchase of new tractors and mowers. Cummings said this will replace aging equipment that must be constantly repaired.

Monday’s Meeting During Monday’s recessed meeting, the Board of Supervisors voted to: • again memorialize in the minutes purchases not made of the lowest bidder and emergency purchases. • accept a special operations grant of $10,000-plus from the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency for the Webster County Emergency Operations Center. • approve the list of school bus turnarounds for 2012-13 already approved by the county School Board. • make changes to local representation on the Golden Triangle Planning and Development District Advisory Board by appointing Randy Rico (District 3) to replace former supervisor Charles River, Doug Burgess (District 5) to replace former supervisor Charles McClellan and Joe Salley of District 3 to replace the late Marion McCain. • adopt the minutes, roster and other documents generated by the HOME public hearing on Aug. 10 and spread them upon the minutes. • enter into a software agreement with Data Systems for 2013.

Eddie Mauck of Hopkins Insurance distributed copies of his liability insurance quote for the county.