By Daniel Brunty
The Webster Progress-Times
The Webster County Board of Supervisors discussed issues regarding the 911 system in the county during its recessed meeting this past Monday.
The board has been dealing with numerous issues on its plate, mainly the courthouse rebuild and school budget. With one of those two hot topics on the backburner for the day, the supervisors were addressed with other concerns.
After the meeting was brought into session, the board members met with county 911 Director Jimmy McLemore. Supervisors informed him that they were having complaints regarding the 911 service in the county, from both the public and local emergency services.
Board President Pat Cummings and District 5 Supervisor Doug Burgess expressed how the complaints revolved around 911 dispatchers not being able to properly give out directions to emergency first-unit responders. The board is concerned that this issue may possibly lead to someone not receiving treatment in time, which may cause a fatality. This could also leave the county vulnerable to having legal action taken upon it.
Board members agreed that McLemore should address these issues immediately with his employees and to report back to the board in a timely fashion. McLemore then exited the meeting.
Next to meet with the board was Superintendent of Education Jack Treloar. He spoke about the recent budget findings and continued discussions with the board about some possible ways to eliminate future revenue shortfalls. After a brief session with the board, Treloar exited the meeting.
The board then welcomed Patty Tucker, executive director of the Northeast Mississippi Chapter of the American Red Cross. Tucker first thanked the board for contributions that were made to the American Red Cross in previous years. She then went on to explain how the organization over the past year helped some Webster County residents during their time of need after fires destroyed their homes.
Tucker then asked the board for a budget request in the amount of $5,000 to provide even better support in disaster times, such as single-family fires and providing community disaster education. Tucker explained to the board members that even if they were not able to meet the budget request, the American Red Cross would always provide its services in times of need.
The board thanked Tucker for her time and told her that they would take her request under advisement.
In other news, the board approved:
• a request from Sheriff Tim Mitchell to remove Arnetta Mays from the position of part-time jailer at the Webster County Sheriff’s Department effective Aug. 19. The motion to do also approved the hiring of Marci Gastineau and Shamesha Crumble as part-time jailers effective Aug. 19, with their pay rate equal to the other part-time jailers staffed.
• a motion to accept the surrendered tag list as presented by the tax assessor without amendment and to spread a copy on the minutes
• to place on the minutes a copy of an interlocal agreement for aerial photography and survey with 20 counties, including Webster, that was approved by the attorney general.
• a motion to allow county Veterans Service Officer David Ellison to attend training on Oct. 16 at Hinds Community College, and to pay his expenses and reimbursement to the extent allowed by law.
• the purchase of “gas sniffer” equipment for the county’s fire departments via a requisition of a grant from Homeland Security.
The board recessed until Friday to the courtroom in the Webster County Office Building at 9 a.m.
The Board of Supervisors will have a public hearing for the proposed fiscal 2014 budget at 10 a.m. Aug. 30 in the boardroom of the Webster County School Office Building.
According to a notice of the hearing, the proposed budget has projected revenue of $7.63 million, up from the current $5.46 million. Of that amount, 75.6 percent is proposed to be financed through a total ad valorem tax levy.
For the next fiscal year, the notice states, the county plans to increase the ad valorem millage rate by 0.86 mills from 113.71 to 114.77.
The proposed budget was adopted Aug. 15 and the board may make a final decision on the proposed tax increase and budget following the budget hearing or at its next meeting.