Lamar Co. supervisors deny utility assistance requests, process to be amended

Lamar Co. supervisors deny utility assistance requests, process to be amended
Photo credit: WDAM

LAMAR COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - Lamar County supervisors denied 24 requests to help county residents with their power bills during Thursday's regularly scheduled meeting.

The board voted 5-0 to amend the application process in which residents apply for the one time, $100 assistance.

"I mean I'm all about helping somebody who's in need, but how do you determine about some of the places in the past and it's not fair that we are paying tax payers money to help," District 2 Supervisor Warren Byrd said.

"I've never seen this many, we've got 24 requests…before I was to vote to spend $2,400 of taxpayer money, I just feel like we need a little bit better process," District 4 Supervisor Phillip Carlisle said.

According to county officials, so far in 2016, the county has awarded less than $1,000 to residents in need.

Chancery Clerk Wayne Smith added that this was more requests than he has seen in 25 years.

"There was a large influx of requests over the last 30 days, and with that large influx it kind of clogged up the system," Lamar County Administrator Jody Waits said. "So what they want to do is make sure that the process allows those who are truly needy to get through the process without being clogged down."

"You can't just take what is written on a piece of paper, there ought to be some paper trail that proves what they are saying is accurate," District 1 Supervisor Steve Lampton said.

"Where do I get my $100, that's not what we are doing here," District 5 Supervisor Dale Lucus said. "It also needs to be a disclaimer that if they fail to fill out every single line then it's automatically disqualified."

The board voted 4-0, with Byrd abstaining, denying the 24 requests.

"The supervisors want to review the process to make sure those who are truly needy have a chance to be considered by the board," Waits said.