Budget cuts cost Hancock County jobs

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Some Hancock County employees will lose their jobs as a result of a sharp budget ax. County supervisors ordered all department heads to slash six percent from their budgets.

The biggest impact will be felt at the Hancock County Sheriff's Department, which is losing $458,000.

Hancock County Sheriff Ricky Adam said he has no choice but to lay off some deputies on the road and in the jail.

"Puts us in a bad position," Sheriff Adam said. "Essentially it's going to be four to six people, personnel."

The sheriff said the cuts he's being forced to make will only bring a halt to the progress his department has made.

"Our felony drug arrests are up over 400-percent. When we took over 20 months ago, we were having between 17 and 22 burglaries a month. In the last three or four months, we've been averaging three to four burglaries a month. That's a big drop and it's because of our patrolman; their presence has been invaluable."

Layoffs will also be coming to the tax collector's office.

"We're going to do everything we can to make sure it affects the service level as little as possible. But, unfortunately, two part time employees did lose their jobs," said Hancock County Tax Assessor-Collector Jimmy Ladner.

County leaders say no one wants to see anyone lose a job, but tough economic times call for tough budget measures.

"Without putting it on the backs of the taxpayers," said Board of Supervisors President Lisa Cowand. "Do you want me to raise your taxes? Okay. So I don't know what else to do. I truly don't."

Cowand said with costs to run the county increasing and revenue decreasing, cutting the budget is the only way to avoid raising taxes on residents.

The layoffs will take effect October 1, 2013.

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