County budget up over $1 million for 2020

Simpson County’s Board of Supervisors held their annual budget hearing last Friday and approved the budget for the county, which goes into effect on Oct. 1. 

The budget for the upcoming year requires $18,377,630 over last year’s budget of $17,071,565.  In this year’s budget, millage remains at 103.5 mills with $10,265,285 to be financed through local ad valorem taxes, which residents pay primarily though property and automobile taxes. 

The ad valorem tax amount for the budget is 55.86 percent compared to last year, which was 60.21 percent.  The valuation of a standard county-wide mill is $190,415. 

Almost 50 percent of the county’s budget goes to education, 43.74 percent to Simpson County Public Schools and 5.8 percent to Co-Lin Community College.  The general fund requires 29.42 percent with the balance going to fund other services offered by the county. 

The board heard a report from Copiah-Lincoln’s president, Dr. Jane Hulon,  Co-Lin Simpson County Center vice-president Dr. Dewayne Middleton, and a contingent from Co-Lin about the status of Copiah-Lincoln Community College. 

Hulon reported that Co-Lin’s enrollment is at an all time high at 3,100 students.  She reported that the current building program at the  Simpson County Center of Co-Lin represents a $6 million investment.  Hulon also reported that CoLin offers the best tuition value at $1,400 per semester while Jones County Community College charges $1,875 per semester and that CoLin has the highest graduation  rate of all community colleges in the nation.

The board approved a court order from Circuit Court setting the salary for Staff Attorney Ray Therrell at $112,034 for the court.  They also approved an order setting Darlene Therrell as Deputy Court Administrator at $75,790.  In addition, they approved an order  setting the salary for Judy Herrington at $79,820 to served as Court Administrator.  There was also a Chancery Court order paying Cindy Bray as Deputy Court Administrator $58,600. 

The board approved a purchase of a new transport van for inmates with funds from the jail inmate canteen fund. 

The board scheduled a meeting with Dennis Ammann, chairman of the Simpson County Development District, to discuss terms of the lease on Howard’s for the building they occupy on Highway 49.

John Kilpatrick, Emergency Services coordinator, reported a total of 192 E-911 calls through September 13, saying this was a very high number compared to other periods. 

Kilpatrick said he is meeting  with the Red Cross, which is offering programs within the county.  These include free smoke detectors and a pillow case program for children.  He is encouraging people to become Red Cross volunteers. 

The board authorized the Sheriff’s Department to apply for a grant from the Mississippi Leadership Council on Aging for 911 signs at residences of senior citizens. 

Board Attorney Danny Welch  was asked about the petition to make the county “wet.”  Welch said while alcohol would be legal in the county it would not be sold in the county unless the sales point was within a municipality.  This question was posed outside of the meeting.  Municipalities would include Magee, Mendenhall, D’Lo and Braxton but not Harrisville and Pinola. 

The next meeting of the board is set for September 30 to finalize the year with the 30th being the last day of the current budget year.