Supervisor’s budget workshop

Published 7:00 am Friday, August 29, 2014

The Pearl River County Board of Supervisors held a budget workshop this week and met with department heads to discuss funding.

During the workshop, one Pearl River County resident addressed the board with concerns about rental fees at the Pearl River County Fairgrounds.

Amy Cormier’s daughter participates in the Pearl River Wranglers Youth Rodeo program.

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“This program is a non-profit,” Cormier said. “Taxpayers bring their own livestock and supplies to the fairgrounds in order for these children to participate.”

Cormier’s issue lies with the rental fee the club is charged for use of the fairgrounds.

The county charges $10 per hour for use of the lights and fan, Cormier said. The charges begin the moment the lights and fan are turned on and end when they are turned off.

“I want to see what is budgeted each year for the costs of upkeep at the fairgrounds,” Cormier said.

County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin told Cormier $30,000 is budgeted yearly for the fairgrounds.

Based on Lumpkin’s response, Cormier said the budgeted funds should be enough money for the upkeep so that non-profits don’t have to pay for its use.

Before attending the meeting, Cormier said she went to Mississippi Power Wednesday and was told that the monthly average power bill for the fairgrounds is about $44. The water costs from January 2013 to January 2014 was about $1,000.

“Why do these clubs have to pay so much, when the upkeep costs are so little?” Cormier said.

Lumpkin told Cormier it’s always been the board’s policy to charge that rental amount for the lights and fans.

District V supervisor Sandy Kane Smith told Cormier that the wear and tear on the fans is also figured into the costs.

Cormier said she believes the fairgrounds can be maintained with $30,000 a year.

Lumpkin said that about $9,000 in rental fees have been charged this year and about $34,000 has been spent on the fairgrounds.

“I don’t think any county non-profit group should have to pay to use the arena,” Cormier said. “If the group is making money, then charge them, but if the event benefits the community it should be free, these people pay their taxes.”

After the meeting, Cormier said she was going to continue to research the numbers and arranged to discuss how the money is spent with Lumpkin.

“I really feel there’s been a misappropriation somewhere,” Cormier said. “And even if there’s not, then I feel the board could make things better.”

This year the county’s total budget request is $17,356,498 and the recommended budget is $15,888,418.

Last year’s budget totaled $15,452,184.

Lumpkin said there are no proposed tax increases this year.

The next board meeting is Tuesday Sept. 2, at 9 a.m.