JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Supervisor Mike Mangum said Wednesday that Jackson County's finances are in good shape. In his first State of the County speech, Mangum promised to continue growing the economy and to build back what Katrina destroyed.
Jackson County Supervisor Mike Magnum stood before a crowded room of Pascagoula Rotarians and county leaders to talk money.
"We are doing very good in our economy," Mangum said.
The economy is so good, Mangum said this year the mileage rate residents pay was cut, and the county found a way to reduce its own debt.
"In 2000, the debt service made up 20 percent of our budget. In 2010 it now makes 6.5 percent of our budget."
He also addressed $83 million in grant money being spent to rebuild from Hurricane Katrina.
"Maximize our dollars and get the bang for our buck out of it," Mangum said.
With those bucks a new county services complex is in the works. The complex will get employees out of FEMA trailers in one location. Emergency shelters will also go up in St. Martin, Vancleave, Hurley and the Fontainebleau communities.
"We don't feel like our people should have to evacuate to Hattiesburg, Meridian, or Jackson. They can evacuate to high ground in the county."
The state of the art health center will soon be move in ready.
"Our health department was small, it was cramped space, and the building was destroyed. Now, we are building the largest health building."
One of more controversial projects that supervisors are pushing to complete is the Jackson County jai. Their goal is to help ease the overcrowding situation. Magnum said finances and jail opponents have slowed down development, but two new pods are now being shipped to help house inmates.
"Those two pods will be delivered in a couple of weeks, in the first part of February. Each one will hold about 70 inmates, maximum. We are still working on the jail design, but we will be moving forward with that sometime this year."
Read the entire State of the County speech at www.co.jackson.ms.us.