Lamar Co. supervisors look to move $1 million to general fund from sanitation budget

Lamar Co. supervisors look to move $1 million to general fund from sanitation budget
Supervisors are working to move $1 million from the sanitation department budget to the county’s general fund. (Photo source: WDAM)

LAMAR COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - The Lamar County Board of Supervisors have reached out to legislators for help in moving county funds from one budget to another.

Supervisors are working to move $1 million from the sanitation department budget to the county's general fund.

"The law only allows that to be done if the legislature says that you can move that money one time," said Lamar County Administrator Jody Waits. "So, the board sought assistance from the state legislature, they've introduced local legislation that would enable us to move $1 million of the carryover from sanitation into the general fund."

The legislation was introduced as House Bill No. 185, by Rep. Brad Touchstone, and the bill states "the funds transferred may be used to meet other budgetary requirements of the county."

Waits said the balance has accumulated over the past few years and is just a surplus.

"The board has decided to use part of that surplus to implement some automation inside arm-garbage trucks, and then the other part, the discussion was we can move that over into the general funds carry over to help support the things that the general fund does, which is growing every year," Waits said.

He said even with the move, the sanitation budget is still supported by the taxes that are collected for it and there are no plans of any personnel reductions.

"There's no idea there to streamline or cut back because we're moving money," Waits said. "It's simply moving some of the surplus to support the general fund, which has growing demands on it through law enforcement, parks and recreation and other things."

One of those other things is the automated sanitation process, which has been in the works for nearly a year.

"The cans have been ordered for the one route that's being considered for the truck and those would be distributed ahead of the one truck, and if all goes according to plan, that should be maybe some time in February," he said. "The truck would take six months or so to order and get in place, so we're still sometime out to get that in place."

But to fully automate the entire department, Waits said that would take six to seven years.

"To get that department fully automated, and over time, through attrition or relocation of employees, you would end up without hoppers on the back of the truck, which would be a lot safer," said Waits.

Even though the request is listed as a house bill, it still hasn't been voted on and is still not approved.

"That (bill) has gone through a House committee, and it's come out of committee and it should be voted on soon by the House," Waits said.