JACKSON, MS (WLOX) - It's now the season of giving, and Jackson County supervisors have taken that to heart. Monday, all five members of the board voted to hand out thousands of dollars in donations to several organizations. One important thing to keep in mind though, it's your tax dollars that make these donations possible.
The Walter Anderson Museum of Art in Ocean Springs was the big winner in the donation sweepstakes, with a gift of $25,000 from the board of supervisors. Without that money, the museum would suffer. Vicki Applewhite is the interim director of WAMA.
"Our sources of revenue are admissions, memberships, store sales, things of that nature. Those earmarked funds from the county that allow us to operate are extremely important, and it's difficult to replace those dollars," Applewhite explained.
A thousand dollars went to Moss Point for Christmas on the River. Pascagoula gets $250 for a similar Christmas celebration in downtown. Even the Ocean Springs Elks club got $100 from the county to advertise in the organization's program.
It's well worth it for Supervisor Melton Harris.
"That is to help improve the standard and quality of living for our youth, senior citizens, for many organizations in our community to improve the quality of life," Harris said.
But, there are limits to this taxpayer-funded generosity for Supervisor Randy Bosarge.
"As long as we keep it in check, and far as the county finances go, I still think it's a good thing, and I think overall the taxpayers are somewhat supportive of it," said Bosarge.
Those taxpayers include the regulars at Coffee Fusion. They are generally supportive but also have some reservations, including Lester Lala.
"Well. I'm all for donating to charity, but are they buying votes? And it seems like they are forcing us to donate to charity using our taxpayer dollars," Lala said.
Others are fine with the giveaways, including Ariell Norvell.
"I think it's a good idea to help someone. If it's charitable, and if we're giving to a good cause, I think it's OK," said Norvell.
In a typical year, Jackson County supervisors approve about $250,000 in donations to dozens of organizations.