Supervisors stand firm on budget change

Published 10:36 am Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Four Lincoln County supervisors don’t intend to back away from an approved funding plan that resulted in the loss of money for District 1.

The board on Monday again discussed District 1 Supervisor Jerry Wilson’s and several black community members’ opposition to the budget cut.

Lincoln County NAACP President Bernetta Character spoke on behalf of the four men Wilson laid off because of the budget cut to his district.

Rev. Jerry L. Wilson

Rev. Jerry L. Wilson

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“I’m still here concerned about the four men that were laid off,” Character said. “Y’all said that you would table it until today so that’s why I’m here — to find out your answer. Mr. David is here and y’all said you was going to look over the records and let everybody know what was what.”

County Administrator David Fields provided the board with a more in-depth reason for the lay offs in Wilson’s district.

“The reason that the reverend had to lay the men off — his revenue split changed 36.9 percent,” Fields said. “That cut his potential budget this year, based on revenue, from $435,000 to $274,000. I mentioned before, the average cost of a road hand, that includes wages, FICA, insurance and PERS, is about $46,000 to $47,000 per man. Well three men is $135,000, which is 50 percent of what his budget is. He had to cut down to three men because if he had kept the other men, he would have no supply or money for fuel, vehicles and trucks, plus the reverend has a couple of note payments that he’s committed to that cost him about $63,000 a year.”

At the last board meeting District 5 Supervisor Doug Falvey requested the board review the budgets from the last four years to see how much more money District 1 received compared to the other districts.

Fields said if Wilson’s budget had been based on the 10.1 percent split, instead of the 16 percent, over the last four years, his budget would have been reduced $201,000 in 2011-2012, $189,000 in 2012-2013, $180,000 in 2013-2014 and $164,000 in 2014-2015.

All of the supervisors, excluding Wilson, agreed that they would not back down because of the opposition.

“The board made a decision and I think we made the right decision and from my stand point, I don’t intend to back up,” Falvey said. “If that’s not the answer they want to here, then they need to take their next step.”

The board changed the way road and bridge funds are distributed based on road miles in each district. Wilson’s district saw the biggest cut. Some districts saw an increase.

No truck signs

The board passed a motion to create a resolution that prevents 18-wheeler trucks from traveling down West Lincoln Road.

County Engineer Ryan Holmes agreed that it would be in the best interest of the county, in preserving the road, to keep the trucks from using it.

“We went and looked at it,” Holmes said. “It’s obviously not made for heavy truck traffic. We do need to be careful on putting no trucks signs up though, because obviously we don’t have a lot of roads that are designed for truck traffic. I think this particular instance is an issue with trucks cutting through. My opinion — I think you can do what you’re wanting to do.”

Falvey also requested that county attorney Bob Allen write a similar resolution for Fern Lane.

In other board business:

• Holmes set up times with each supervisor this week to conduct an annual maintenance inspection in each district.

• The board appointed Falvey as its representative for the South-Central Mississippi Works Board of Commissioners.

• Lincoln County Sheriff Steve Rushing informed the board that Lawrence County would be joining the Southwest Mississippi Interjurisdictional Narcotics Enforcement Unit with Lincoln County.