Sheriff pitches 2017 budget to Harrison Co. supervisors

Sheriff pitches 2017 budget to Harrison Co. supervisors

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Harrison County leaders are crunching the financial numbers. Monday morning, the Board of Supervisors began another week of budget hearings. Among the budgets up for review was the spending plan for the Harrison County sheriff.

"I don't want to come to y'all throughout the year and say I need a budget amendment. I want y'all to give me a realistic budget and let me work in between that budget," Sheriff Troy Peterson told the board, as they began reviewing his budget.

The sheriff's department is requesting around $470,000 more for the new fiscal year. Supervisors reviewed it, line item by line item.  The law enforcement training academy for instance.

"Justification for us giving $370,000 to it and no one else. No city," said Supervisor Connie Rockco.

The sheriff's budget proposal includes less money next year, for legal fees.

"I think the jail's completely different from what it was. I don't think we've had any, we've had a couple frivolous that have come up, but those have already been squashed," Sheriff Peterson told the board members.

The sheriff's total budget request is $19.8 million.

"We're above board on our services right now. We have our divisions, our patrol divisions and our criminal divisions are full, and haven't been full in a long time. But those divisions are the ones that work the hardest out for the public," says the sheriff.

The big question among most residents: Will there be a tax hike with this new budget? County leaders say that decision hasn't been made yet. They're waiting for some final revenue projections.

"We don't know yet at this point. But that's a decision I think will be hotly discussed if it were to arise," said Supervisor Marlin Ladner.

"You know every department is pretty much asking for an increase. But we know we can't do that. So, we've got to figure out what we can do, what we can come up with. Identify potential revenue sources that we may not have known about or talked about before, and then sharpen the pencil,"  said Board President Beverly Martin.

Supervisors were told Harrison County has a total assessed value of more than $1.9 billion. That's a three to four percent increase from last year.

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