County renews funding to DHS

Published 10:20 am Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Lincoln County will once again financially support the Department of Human Services.

Eleanor Monroe, county director of the Department of Human Services, Lincoln County Family and Children’s Services, and Jennifer Hart, area social work supervisor, requested a budget reinstatement of $200 per month at Monday’s Board of Supervisors meeting.

The Lincoln County Board of Supervisors used to provide Family and Children’s Services with those funds, which help with one-time services for needy families, such as food, medical needs, clothing and utilities.

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Chancery Clerk Tillmon Bishop and County Administrator David Fields both said they cannot remember a time that the funds were administered, and so it was most likely more than 15 years ago. Both said that the amount is so immaterial to the county’s budget that more than likely somewhere down the line the FCS stopped requesting the funds for a year and it continued, rather than the board making a move to deny the funds for such a good cause.

The county also approved the budget for another good cause. Breck Cutrer, with the South Mississippi Children’s Center, requested the continuation of budget funds for the next fiscal year. SMCC offers emergency housing and diagnostic and evaluation services to abused, neglected, runaway and homeless children ages nine through 20. The board approved the request for the SMCC’s regular budget of $2,000.

Garrick Combs of the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Economic Development Alliance requested a bylaw change to add two Chamber of Commerce members to the Alliance. This makes a seven-person board consisting of two from the county, two from the city and three from the Chamber. The board approved this request.

Combs also requested a redirection of the budget allocation to the Alliance as opposed to the Chamber of Commerce effective Oct. 1. Bishop said with exception of Brookhaven Beautiful, the funds allocated for the Chamber will now direct to the Alliance, a more public organization working toward a higher level of economic development. Bishop said this internal structure change has been  long time coming and that Combs took the direction to make it happen.

“The catalyst is continuation, making sure we put all the resources we can behind economic community development — specifically the changes and improvement we’re making in the Linbrook Business Park,” Combs said. “There are internal, procedural and structural changes to go along with that. It’s not a request for an increase it’s just a change in operation.

“We felt the best way to move forward is that any public dollars — we being the Chamber, the Industrial Development Foundation, Alliance and the county — we all agree public dollars should go to the Alliance for the way it’s structured,” Combs explained. “It’s a better way to [operate] that public money stays with the public organization and private money stays with the Chamber.”