County talks budget
Published 7:00 am Friday, September 4, 2015
Thursday, employees and clients with the Pearl River Valley Opportunity Inc. requested additional staff during the second budget workshop in preparation for the county’s 2015-2016 fiscal year.
Case Manager Lillie Crawford said their workload has more than tripled since she began working at PRVO almost two years ago, which is why it’s essential they hire additional staff in order to meet the rising demand in the community.
“I’m asking for the support from the board to hire a part-time employee for PRVO that way we can continue giving citizens quality care,” Crawford said.
In the past month, nearly 80 people visited Crawford’s office, requesting their services. Currently, Crawford works at the Poplarville office with another employee, whose contract is about to expire.
“Even with her here now, our limited staff will slow down the number of people we can service,” Crawford said.
PRVO has provided financial and educational assistance to low-income residents across the county for the past 50 years in partnership with the Community Action Partnership. They also offer educational workshops for all citizens on a monthly basis.
Dozens of Crawford’s clients attended the meeting. Several of those clients, including Denise Halcomb, spoke on behalf of PRVO.
Halcomb said she currently receives disability benefits but is attending school in order to one day own her own restaurant. She owes her recent success to Crawford.
“She’s helped me and has always gone above and beyond. I thought many times in the past that she did need help,” Halcomb said.
While the board is currently working on finalizing the budget, PRC District V Supervisor Sandy Kane Smith said they will try to help Crawford keep her current employee and “continue to work to see what we can do to help.”
Also at the meeting, the board discussed budgetary concerns regarding the county jail. The jail requested $3,259,700 for the upcoming fiscal year. During the meeting, board members analyzed several of the jail’s line items in order to see what can be cut to remain in line with the county’s total recommended budget of $15.8 million.
Several board members touched on the topic of state inmates. An agreement was recently made between the county and Mississippi Department of Corrections to continue housing and using inmates in the Joint State County Work Program without reimbursement from the state, according to previous Item coverage.
“If we’re paying to keep these state trustees, I want to know if they’re going to be utilized the way we need them,” Smith said.
After speaking to Sheriff David Allison, County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin said the board decided to approve the jail’s budget for $3.2 million and they plan to discuss long-term issues down the road.
“There wasn’t a lot we could cut out so we set it to where we can still stay in our budget,” Lumpkin said.
The board plans to hold a public hearing to adopt the budget on Sept. 15 at 10 a.m. inside the court facilities.
The next board meeting is Sept. 8 at 9 a.m.