Budget talks bring tough decisions ahead for the county

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, August 29, 2017

As the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors worked on the annual budget, the members were yet again faced with the task of deciding which requests couldn’t be met. The Board has often lamented the process, while some department heads vehemently say there’s a reason they didn’t run for that office. Just like a business or household budget, no one wants to be responsible for making cuts simply because there aren’t enough funds. Over the years, revenue has grown, but so have the needs of the county.

In the midst of it all, Board Vice President Hudson Holliday shared a pearl of wisdom, “there’s been more money stolen with a pencil than there’s ever been stolen with a gun.”

While he was not accusing any department heads of stealing money from the county, the phrase still rings true to the power the Board holds in its hands.

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There’s probably not a single person that wouldn’t accept a higher salary, a better office or new equipment. But few are willing to take on the responsibility to decide which department gets those things.

Revenue did go up by a significant amount this year due to reappraisals mandated by updated state guidelines, but it’s still not enough to cover everyone’s wish list. While repaving roads is important, there are many ways we can all benefit from properly distributed tax funds.

But there are some areas where additional funding will have a tremendous impact. The library, animal shelter, Senior Center of South Pearl River County and other entities contribute a lot to this county. Helping tem serve the needs of the community should be one of the highest priorities. Seventeen and half million dollars is a lot of money to spend, but with the right people holding the pencils, we can all hope it will be distributed with the best interest of the county in mind.