Forrest County looks to approve 2017 budget, taxes to increase

Forrest County looks to approve 2017 budget, taxes to increase
Forrest County Board President David Hogan/Photo credit: WDAM

FORREST COUNTY (WDAM) - Forrest County Supervisors have their budget ready for 2017 and are looking forward to putting their seal of approval on it, with a small tax increase for county residents.

"We will take those questions or comments and if something needs to be tweaked or looked at differently we will do that," Forrest County Board President David Hogan said.

Hogan said there are a few areas that will save the county money, but the budget across the board is operating carefully.

"We have the multi-purpose center that we will make the final payment on this year, and the lower cost of fuel is helping all of our county vehicles," Hogan said. "The county will take a large hit in the general fund from the civil rights lawsuit settlement, and that will take us some time to recover from."

Hogan said that the new circuit judge costs, the hiring of full-time public defenders, and the addition of a fifth patrol deputy at the Forrest County Sheriff's Department will be some of the areas that cost the county.

"We are also going to make a conservative effort to get our overtime under control, we have some areas we are seeing quite a bit of overtime, and we are trying to work people's schedules around to where we won't have as much overtime," Hogan said.

The area that the majority of the overtime is targeted is at the Forrest County Jail, according to Hogan.

"We tried to keep the budget the best we could, we basically cut all the fat out from the budget in years past so there wasn't a lot of improvement," Hogan said. "We put on two mills to help satisfy the lawsuit…we were not able to borrow money in the counties to settle lawsuits, and those mills represent replenishing the carryover of the general fund."

Hogan said the increase will be the same across the board.

"Pretty much everybody in the municipalities Petal or Hattiesburg and out in the county will see approximately a $14.00 increase per $100 thousand of value," Hogan said.

Supervisors will hold a public hearing Tuesday during their regular scheduled meeting to take questions and comments regarding the budget.

Hogan said he expected the supervisors to vote on the budget after that hearing.