Sheriff’s budget wish list up 30 percent

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 30, 2002

[07/30/02]For the year to come, Sheriff Martin Pace wants a 30 percent increase in operating money and he formally presented what he called his first draft budgets to the Warren County Board of Supervisors on Monday.

In another step in the process that will lead to totals due from property owners, Pace asked for a nearly $1.15 million increase in the year that starts Oct. 1.

Supervisors also heard requests for more money for the offices of Tax Collector Pat Simrall and Tax Assessor Richard Holland.

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Vicksburg officials are in a parallel process, hearing funding requests through much of August. Once spending plans are set, tax rates are calculated to go into effect for vehicle tags Oct. 1 and real and personal property Jan. 1.

The Vicksburg Warren School District operates on a fiscal year that starts July 1 and is already into a record $63.3 spending year that will require supervisors to raise $1.2 million more from local taxpayers than during the previous budget year.

Requests for funding for city and county operations almost always top actual allocations provided by city and county boards.

“I have given this a lot of prayerful consideration and time,” Pace said as he presented the draft budget. Supervisors advised him to meet with them and County Administrator Rick Polk informally during the week to iron out details.

Pace said pushing his requests were a desire to keep a highly educated and trained staff and uncertainty over costs for medical care for inmates at the Warren County Jail and Youth Detention Center.

Medical expenses “are not optional and not something we have a lot of control of,” he said. “Medical expenses can fluctuate from week to week and month to month.”

Responding to a request for details from District 3 Supervisor Charles Selmon, Polk said the county had spent about $31,300 through July just on medications and $73,800 on other expenses such as x-rays, hospital costs, physicians fees and laboratory tests.

Pace said the medical expenses would have been higher without the willingness of Dr. John Robert Ford, a Vicksburg physician, to conduct clinics in the jail.

Pace’s budget includes separate ledgers for the sheriff’s department, jail and youth detention center.

The draft total is $4,924,809, up from $3,775,840.

By category, the jail would go from $1,110,520 to $1,436,879; youth detention from $631,360 to $855,934; and department from $2,033,960 to $2,631.996.

Polk presented the budget requests for Simrall and Holland, saying both were attending the Mississippi Assessors and Collectors Association convention.

Simrall requested $468,266, up from $420,626.

Holland’s budget is a two-part situation with money coming from the county’s general fund and from its reappraisal fund.

For FY 2003, Holland asked for a total of $468,409: $247,775 from the general fund and $220,634 from the reappraisal budget.

The FY 2002 budget total was $438,556: $236,640 from the general fund and $201,916 from the reappraisal fund.

Public hearings are required by state law for the sheriff, tax collector and tax assessor budgets. Other allocations are discussed outside formal meetings.

Also under way is the property valuation review process. People wishing to protest values assigned should file in writing by Friday.