By Amanda McBride
The Choctaw Plaindealer
Budget talks begin with the Choctaw County Board of Supervisors in their August 12 board meeting. The supervisors have less than one month to prepare and approved the Fiscal Year 201-2014 budget. Law requires they to approve the budget by September 15.
Lori Kerr, tax assessor/collector, explained to the supervisors that the required aerial photography expenses will be spread out in her budget for three years. She added that her office would need a new AutoCAD machine in the next fiscal year. Kerr said the current machine is obsolete and she cannot find anyone to repair it. A new machine will cost $7,000.
“It’s a need not a want,” said Kerr.
The board briefly discussed the Sheriff’s Department current budget. They discussed the need for another police car due to high maintenance costs on one or two of the older patrol vehicles.
Also within budget discussions, Chris McIntire, board president, mentioned looking into possibly creating separate paving budgets for each district under the countywide fund. He said this is needed due to the high costs of road maintenance. McIntire said if they created the paving funds it would be funded through millage or tax payments from the industries. No action has been taken.
Next the Board of Supervisors began discussing possible pay raises for county employees.
“I need direction on salaries before nailing down each budget,” said McIntire to the board.
During the discussion, District 4 Supervisor David Carter reminded the board of the pay scale they previously approved.
Steve Montgomery, Chancery clerk, said the courthouse needs to move to a “team aspect” where employees are “multi-trained” to help in other offices when needed. He said they are working on details of this multi-training aspect.
While discussing pay for employees, District 5 Supervisor Eric Chambers suggested to have the 911, Solid Waste, Justice Court, Receiving Clerk and Inventory Clerk make $14 an hour.
“I feel the same way as before,” said Chambers. No action was taken.
After more discussion about pay raises, the board agreed to have McIntire talk to department heads or direct supervisors to determine a raise for employees.
On a different subject, Charlotte Reid addressed the supervisors about Pioneer not maintaining the ground at the Choctaw County Nursing Center. She said her mother is resident and she visits everyday. Reid said she has paid to have the outside of the back of the nursing home and maintenance shed cleaned since Pioneer has not done so. She added that recently, abandoned hospital beds were placed back there. Reid called the supervisors and asked for their help in getting those removed.
“Thank you for your help. Do whatever you can do to make them (Pioneer) clean it up,” said Reid.
This spurred a conversation about the grounds at the nursing home and at the new hospital.
“We have a huge investment at both facilities…It’s Pioneer’s responsibility but I’m at the point I’m ready for our guys to take care of it (grass and shrubs),” said McIntire.
“We can sit here and send letters all day long but they aren’t going to do it,” he added.
“The more we do, the more they will let us do,” warned Chambers. Then added, “Charge them for it, if we do it.”
Montgomery reminded the board that they would need permission from Pioneer to do maintenance on the grounds of the nursing home and hospital since they are under a lease.
No action was taken.
The supervisors approved the following in their August 12 meeting:
-To allow Pioneer Community Hospital of Choctaw the use of a radio, to communicate with emergency personnel, per a signature taking responsibility of the radio.
-To purchase a communications tower for $9,690 to be paid out of Fund 001-265 for Bywy Volunteer Fire Department to improve radio signal strength.
-Inventory deletion of District 2 inoperable cell phone.
-Travel for District 3 Supervisor Chris McIntire to the Fall Government Workshop in Vicksburg on October 14-16.
-To advertise the budget as required when it is ready.
-Order to request and additional $82,000 for the Pigeon Roost Bridge Project to finish project as required. These funds are federal funds and will no include local funds.
The Choctaw County Board of Supervisors plans to meet every Monday in August at 9 a.m. at the Choctaw County Courthouse.