Supervisors fine tune new budget plans, hear reports

Published 2:00 pm Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Lincoln County Board of Supervisors met Monday morning to confirm final calculations on the 2013-2014 budget, as well as hear from other county officials.

“We covered a variety of things at the meeting …, and I am happy with the results,” said Chancery Clerk Tillmon Bishop.

Monday’s meeting also served as a public hearing for the proposed 2013-14 county budget.

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County Administrator David Fields reiterated budget news from previous meetings, which saw total revenue for the year reach $16,965,000. Total expenditures were $16,370,000, leaving a balance of $595,000.

“There will be no millage rate increase,” reported Fields. “As it stands now, the millage rate will meet the revenue projections of the board,” he said.

David Van, executive director of the Region 8 Mental Health facility, appeared before the board to deliver an annual report. Van updated the board on the state of operations at the mental health facility located at 620 Highway 51 N. in Brookhaven.

“Out of all the counties we cover, Lincoln County is the second fastest growing county for new cases. We average anywhere between 60-100 new cases each month here,” said Van. “New cases at Region 8 can be mental health cases or drug and alcohol addiction cases,” Van said. Out of 5 counties, Rankin County ranks highest for new monthly cases.

“No one is turned away or refused treatment at our facility, based on the patient’s ability to pay,” continued Van. “We treat our patients in the least restrictive environment possible, and in a humane way,” he added.

Currently, many counties resort to sending mentally ill patients to jail, since there is nowhere else for them to go. “This does not happen in Brookhaven due to the Region 8 facility,” said Van.

The board also passed a motion restricting the open or concealed carry of guns in county-owned facilities. Offenders will be fined anywhere from $25 to $250 according to Bishop.

In other business, county engineer Ryan Holmes updated the board on recent road construction projects that have been completed, including the micro-seal of several roadways. Workers coat county roads with the polymer-modified asphalt to prevent cracking during colder temperatures and rutting during hotter roadway temperatures.

Holmes also reported on the progress of the addition of new stop and curve signs to a number of county roadways, complete with galvanized posts and high-density reflection, to the board.

“Our goal is to equip every state road in the county with new signs,” said Holmes.

Tax assessor and collector Rita Gross provided an update on a statewide tax roll contract through 2015 at Monday’s meeting as well.

“It’s easier for the board to make informed decisions when we have as much information as possible … The board was presented with adequate information, and I think we made good decisions,” said Tillman Bishop.