Jackson County Leaders Take Out Loan To Make Ends Meet

Revamping soccer fields and redesigning the county golf course are projects planned before Katrina.

County administrator Alan Sudduth says both will likely to be put on hold now that the county is low on money.

"We budgeted for that, we may put that off for a year or two," Sudduth says.

"We hope by not filling open jobs and by not starting capital projects that have been planned, that we can use those funds to help us tide over," Supervisor John McKay says.

McKay says the county must find money where it can, because post Katrina property tax collections will be down more than 25 percent with so many homes and businesses destroyed.

There is some good news though.

Chevron paid its property taxes early, and McKay says that 14 million dollars has made all the difference.

"If it wouldn't have been for Chevron paying us early, we would be in a world of hurt right now," McKay says.

Something else that's helped funnel money into the county, more people are buying car tags right now.

"A lot of folks lost their vehicles and are buying new vehicles," Sudduth says.

Most of Jackson County's industries, which employ thousands, are up and running.

That is something Sudduth says gives Jackson County an advantage over Harrison County.

"I think some of our tax base is less dependent on the gaming and tourist industry than they are,"Sudduth says,"With the revenue we generate, we'll be able to function and provide the basic services to the citizens of Jackson County."

Supervisor McKay isn't too sure how long that will last though.

"At some point in time when you're robbing Peter to pay Paul, you're going to have to do something about it," McKay adds.

For now, county leaders are doing everything they can to head off drastic budget cuts.