Jackson County trims budget

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - By Patrice Clark – bio | email

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The sluggish economy is hitting home again; this time in Jackson County. Supervisors have trimmed $3 million from the fiscal budget they approved Monday.

Jackson County Supervisors said this year's budget was difficult because the economy has been chipping away at the county's finances.

"There were some things that we would have funded at a higher leave, but we funded at a lower level because we are counting the pennies now," Board President Mike Mangum said.

The county's budget is $123 million, that's down from $126 million last year. Several departments are feeling the loss, including the road department. The county slashed $1 million from its operating budget and two road projects were taken off the to do list.

"We are still in the framework of getting those things done."

One of the only departments that came out with more money was the sheriff's department. A $1.8 million increase will go toward replacing the old cars and for new hires to work at the county's jail.

"Law enforcement costs money. It is burden of the people for the people," Sheriff Mike Byrd said. "You know when somebody calls needing help you have to have an officer in place."

The county also budgeted nearly $1 million to give all 700 of its employees a 3 percent raise. A raise is good news to planning director Michele Coats and 17 people working under her.

"It was very important that we get those raises to secure those families futures," Coats said.

County supervisors are hoping for a boost in the economy, but they admit more cuts could come next budget session.

"I don't think that is going to be the last of the tight budgets. I think there is going to be another next year," Mangum said.

The county has also lowered the mileage for the 17th year in row, which means no county-wide tax increase.

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