Lee County Supervisors hold hearing on $31M budget

Lee County StockBy Robbie Ward/Daily Journal

TUPELO – It took less than five minutes Friday for the Lee County Board of Supervisors to meet a legal requirement of having a meeting on the 2014 fiscal year budget.

Neither the supervisors nor the audience discussed the proposed $31.2 million budget. The closest to any conversation came when District 4 Supervisor Tommie Lee Ivy made a motion to add $75,000 to the budget to Lee County misdemeanor drug court, which lost annual state funding in that amount recently.

The motion died for lack of a second.

After a few moments of silence, board president Bobby Smith ended the public hearing.

“Short and sweet,” Smith said. “That’s it, folks.”

After the meeting, Ivy said he wished other supervisors would have supported funding for the drug court, operated by Lee County Justice Court Judge Rickey Thompson. The court works with people in the area convicted of misdemeanor crimes who have drug and alcohol addiction problems.

“I believe everybody needs a second chance,” Ivy said after the meeting. “I did the best I could.”

Supervisors warned when the court began in January 2009 that Lee County tax dollars wouldn’t support the state-funded program.

The proposed budget includes a modest tax increase – 1.5 mills – to replace an outdated emergency 911 communications system. For taxpayers living in the Lee County School District who own property valued at $100,000, they can expect to pay $102 in total county taxes if no exemptions are granted.

The bulk of county taxes, 67.9 percent, fund education, while the rest supports law enforcement, public health, roads and bridges, general administration, courts and other services.

Leaving the Board of Supervisors building downtown, Smith said the budget likely to be approved on Sept. 16 shows sound fiscal management.

“The things we need are in there,” he said. “The things we don’t aren’t.”