JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - When Jackson County tax collector Joe Tucker and his staff of 26 got word they would be getting bigger pay checks they were excited.
"Last year it was disappointing that we didn't get like a one percent raise to keep up with the cost of living. This year we're getting a three percent and that makes up for last year," Tucker said.
Pay raises for all county employees is part of a few changes in the more than $130 million dollar operating budget.
"We value the quality of jobs our employees do, and we felt with the little inflation, a three percent raise was warranted," Jackson County Board of Supervisors President John McKay said.
McKay said millions of dollars will also go toward fixing dozens of crumbling, old roads folks drive on every day.
"We give back to the cities $4.9 million in paving money, so they can use that to upgrades their streets," McKay said.
The county is also moving forward with building a new jail to replace the old and sometimes overcrowded one and without a tax increase.
"We can make that initial payment of $2.5 million to cover the cost of the jail and we will have to budget that same 2.5 for the next 20 years," McKay said.
Although the budget is slightly larger this year McKay said several departments including the sheriff's office weren't able to get everything on their wish lists.
"Nobody got what they asked for and the sheriff got far less than most departments. He asked for like 20 new patrol cars and several different vans and different types of vans, but we couldn't afford it. So we authorized the sheriff to buy five new patrol cars and we authorized him to buy two new vans where he can transport prisoners back and forth," McKay said.
McKay said the goal of the budget is to be efficient and he believes the county did just that.
The county is also planning to spend more than $1 million to build a West Jackson County Justice Court and a Mississippi Highway Patrol Licensing Center.