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Jones County BOS meets to review process of funding fire departments

Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 6:29 PM CDT
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LAUREL, Miss. (WDAM) - On Tuesday, Oct. 12, the Jones County Board of Supervisors met with attorneys representing the Jones County Fire Council.

The meeting was a continuation between the board and the fire council to discuss the money each of the county’s 19 volunteer fire departments receives.

Those funds are generated through a 2-mill tax levy and have to be used for fire protection throughout the county.

The process of distributing those funds, however, was called into question last month after the fire council’s former president, Lee Garick, was arrested on embezzlement charges.

Board Attorney & CAO Danielle Ashley said the money needs to have proper oversight to ensure that the taxpayers are protected from something like that ever happening again.

“What the board has proposed is to maintain control of those funds and to keep the money here on the county level instead of sending it to the fire council,” Ashley said.

“That means the money will be available to the fire departments to use but they will have to abide by the state purchasing law,” Ashley added.

Several proposals were floated during the meeting, including the idea to allow each fire department to control its own budget in the same manner as the sheriff’s department and other county entities currently do.

Board President Johnny Burnett said the safety and security of the residents in Jones county is the top priority.

The meeting ended as both groups agreed to meet again on Oct. 18.

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