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Supervisors eye Friday hearing for budget finalization for public input

Supervisors said on Monday that they plan to finalize the 2010-11 county budget at a budget hearing on Friday at 9 a.m. in the supervisors’ board meeting room in the Chancery Court building on Julia Street behind the old courthouse here.

The finalization does not mean the budget is adopted and becomes law on Friday. The finalized budget on Friday is only a proposed budget to be advertised in a county newspaper.

The advertisement will announce the date of a public hearing to gather citizen input in the budget process before putting the proposed budget into a finished form and adopting it so it will be ready to take effect on Oct. 1.

The county’s new fiscal year runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, 2011.

The board of supervisors hopes to have the budget finalized and adopted by Sept. 15.

Supervisors have been wrestling with a $1 million shortfall in revenues as compared to last year. Last year supervisors said openly as the budget process began that they were not going to raise taxes, and although they have made no firm statements this year, they have said that if possible they would not ask for a millage rate increase.

If they do not raise taxes, that means that they have to ask for budget cuts in budget negotiations and discussions with department heads.

In other matters on Monday, supervisors voted to advertise a property on Lee Street in Carriere Community in preparation for moving to clean up the property. Supervisors, in moving against the property, said the person who lives there has been throwing out household garbage in his yard.

It is one of the worst residential trash problems in the county, officials said.

Supervisors also approved a request that County Emergency Management Director Danny Manley be allowed to help in the clearance of debris from Hobolochitto Creek. A cleanup of the creek is being sponsored by a local group.

The group is clearing debris from the creek that has blocked recreational use of portions of the stream.

Supervisors also signed a 40-year lease agreement with the Picayune school board in connection with use of a 10,000-square-foot storm shelter as a cafeteria on school property. The facility is one of three being constructed in the county, which will cost a combined $9 million, furnished by FEMA.

FEMA told county officials that they did not care how the facilities were used only that when FEMA needed them for an emergency, they could be cleared and used. They will not be used long-term as shelters, only for emergency short-term occupation by people seeking to escape the brunt of hurricanes or other natural disasters.

The other two are being constructed on Pearl River County school property in Carriere and on the Pearl River County fairgrounds at Poplarville. The storm shelter at Carriere will be used as a multi-purpose facility by PRC schools and the one at the fairgrounds as an exhibition hall.

Supervisors also accepted the resignation of Pearl River County school district superintendent Dennis E. Penton from the Pearl River Community College board of trustees, and said they will begin a search for a replacement. The search is expected to last about two weeks.

Supervisors accepted the recommendations for school bus turn-arounds from the Pearl River County school board, and from the Picayune and Poplarville school boards. Supervisors said they have noticed a decline in the number of requests since supervisors met with school officials saying they needed to screen the requests more carefully.

Supervisors had complained of having to maintain long private driveways in order to reach some school bus turn-arounds.