Board President Lowell Hinton cast a tie-breaking “yes” vote to make it a 3-2 approval of pay raises that the board had tabled in October amid concerns about the 911 budget deficit.
Those concerns continue, but District 2 Supervisor Dal Nelms, who made the motion to give the pay hike as originally presented, said the employees should not be penalized for it.
“It’s not those employees’ fault,” he said.
Also voting in favor was District 3 Supervisor Tim Mitchell, who seconded the motion and noted that the budget as approved for the current fiscal year did include funds for the raises.
Gary Ross, District 4, and Jimmy Tate Waldon, District 5, voted “no.”
“I’m going to be against it, not because of the employees, but because we’re not where we need to be as far as the budget is concerned,” said Waldon.
“What bothers me is where is this money coming from,” said Ross.
The 911 budget is suffering from the decline in fees derived from land line use as people pull the plug on home phone service and shift to mobile phones.
Some county officials are concerned Alcorn County is not receiving fees for all of the phones in use in the county, and supervisors are watching with interest what happens in Hinds County, where officials want to pursue some of the money they believe is not making it from the phone companies to the 911 fund.
Hinton said another contributor to the shortfall is that the City of Corinth did not join in the consolidated dispatch at the new justice center.
“911 is 911. It’s not Alcorn County or the city or Farmington or anybody else,” said Waldon. “It’s a unified group of services that’s provided by one agency, and we’re picking the lion’s share of the tab up. I think the city as well as the county residents need to understand we don’t need separate dispatching.”
The board also approved pay raise requests for employees in the tax collector’s office; a number of District 3 employees; and district attorney employees Deborah Daniel, Angela Denise Harrison and April Bostick. The county gets full reimbursement on the DA employees’ pay.
In other business:
• The board reappointed William H. Davis Jr. to continue as the board attorney for the coming year.
• The board approved Jan. 20 as a county holiday for Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday and Robert E. Lee’s birthday. Because that is the next regular meeting date, the board will meet on Friday, Jan. 17.