County employees to get 4% pay raises

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 6, 2000

About 210 county employees will get a 4 percent cost-of-living pay increase as part of a $28 million budget passed Tuesday by supervisors.

There was no public comment at the budget hearing that followed with a 4-0 vote by the Warren County Board of Supervisors to adopt the fiscal 2001 spending plan. District 3 Supervisor Charles Selmon did not attend the board meeting due to an illness in his family.

“I think we’ve done a pretty good job of staying within our means,” District 2 Supervisor Michael Mayfield said.

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The pay increase for county employees represents an increase to nearly every county department, but does not include supervisors or other elected officials. Salaries for supervisors, judges and others are set by the Legislature. Chancery and circuit clerks’ income is based on fees for services the offices perform.

For this year, raises for hourly employees were 5 percent.

Along with the budget, Supervisors set the rate used to determine property taxes at 77.27 mills. Last year’s rate was 77.38, making this the sixth year in a row the county has lowered the ad valorem tax rate.

That does not mean tax bills will be lower, especially if property was reappraised during the year. In fact, with the lower rate, supervisors still expect to collect and spend about $3.3 million more overall in the coming year.

The rate means that the owner of a home in the county assessed at $80,000 will owe $380.16 after homestead exemptions when tax bills come out in December.

Vicksburg residents pay county and city taxes on property. The city board is currently considering a $30.3 million budget for the upcoming year. Tax rates for city residents will be set when the new budget is approved.

The rates are also a factor in calculating car tag costs.

“New money (in the budget) is from new growth,” said county administrator Rick Polk.

Revenue in the new budget totals $17.7 million, with $10.8 million generated through ad valorem taxes. An increase of about $500,000 is expected in revenue from a 5 percent increase in the county’s $2.2 billion tax roll this year.

Spending increases in the new year include an additional $100,000 for parks and recreation, $65,000 to pay overtime for sheriff’s deputies and a 10 percent raise for jailers.

“We’re trying to attract and maintain the quality of law enforcement officers that Warren County deserves,” said Sheriff Martin Pace.

Jailers in Warren County are started at $6 per hour, Pace said. In Lauderdale County, where the department is about the same size, jailers start at $7.39 per hour, he said. With the raise, Warren County jailers will start at $6.84 per hour.

“I really appreciate the board of supervisors giving the officers the pay they need and deserve,” Pace said.

The county budgeted $2.6 million for capital improvements next year including $150,000 for repairs to the Old Court House Museum, an estimated $900,000 for road repaving, $1 million to replace the roof of the jail and $250,000 toward building a $1.5 million bridge to Kings Point Island.

The county also allocated $107,615 for the Vicksburg Tallulah Regional Airport after debating earlier in the year about the formation of an airport authority and continued funding of the regional airport in Mound. Those funds are for the general operation of the airport, about $24,836 from each of the four owner, and capital improvement items.