County increases spending for charities, other groups|[03/11/08]

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 11, 2008

If approved by the Legislature, charities and other groups active in Warren County will receive more public money from county reserves.

Supervisors OK’d funding requests totaling $265,000 for a dozen agencies for which local and private legislation is needed in order to release taxpayer funds.

In all, $615,500 was marked for donations in the county’s operating budget for 2007-08 largely to organizations whose primary mission is charity. Some, such as with Main Street, focus on business development downtown. Another, to the Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce, goes to marketing and retirement funds and doesn’t require a local and private bill.

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More approvals for submission to area legislators are expected this month.

Monday’s list reflects an increase of $16,500 over what some of them requested last year. Scarcity or outright loss of certain types of federal grants justified the increase, supervisors have said.

Of the funds approved for WWISCAA, only $7,500 will cover the agency’s basic operations while the rest is marked for qualifying applicants to its energy assistance programs for low-income earners.

Discussions among supervisors in recent weeks have centered on more extensive vetting of agencies’ needs as they crunch numbers during summertime budget meetings. Many receive funds from the United Way, to which supervisors also contribute.

Supervisors recessed until March 17 at 9 a.m.

Approved for public money

Boys & Girls Club of Vicksburg, $25,000, increase of $5,000 over last year

Central Mississippi Prevention Services, $2,500

Jacqueline House African American Museum, $25,000

Mississippi Food Network, $4,000, increase of $1,000 over last year

The Initiative, $10,000, increase of $5,000 over last year

Triumph Ministries, $25,000

Vicksburg Family Development Center, $10,000

Vicksburg Main Street, $16,000

Vicksburg Warren Humane Society, $100,000

We Care Community Center, $12,500, increase of $5,000 over last year

Warren Washington Issaquena Sharkey Community Action Agency (WWISCAA), $25,000

Women’s Restoration Shelter, $10,000

On the agenda

Renewed an interlocal agreement with the City of Vicksburg on funding NRoute.

The $35,000 allocation to the local minibus service is the same as what supervisors contributed at the start of the system in 2006. Since then, the city has handed over control of the system to an independent commission. The number of routes has increased to augment funding from fares. Private contributions also continue.

Approved a pay estimate of $269,498 to Riverside Construction for work on the T-dock crane support structure at the Port of Vicksburg.

Work is about 75 percent complete, County Engineer John McKee said. The estimate was adjusted for $120,000 of liquidated damages, as the project is 54 days past the contract time. Girders are in place, while fender piles and pouring the concrete deck are expected soon.

Authorized signature of a letter to MEMA effectively dropping the county’s request for reimbursement for debris cleanup related to Hurricane Katrina.

Adopted a resolution on acceptance of a Safe Neighborhood Grant of $3,000 from Wal-Mart. The money will be used to pay for fire extinguishers for Warren County residents aged 65 and older in a drawing to take place at 2 p.m. March 31 on the first floor of the courthouse.

Authorized travel for any supervisors to attend the Mississippi Association of Supervisors minority caucus in Laurel from April 8-10.