The Leflore County Board of Supervisors approved a budget for the upcoming year that will give all county residents slight tax relief.
The new budget, at $33.077 million, reduces the city's current millage rate of 100.33 mills to 99.98 mills.
“Everybody, no matter where they live, will have a slight decrease,” said county administrator Sam Abraham.
Abraham also noted that the millage rate in 1996-1997 was 115.2 mills.
“Considering where we were and where we are now, it's just nice,” said District 1 Supervisor Phil Wolfe.
The board approved the budget Friday with District 5 Supervisor Larry “Kite” Johnson and District 4 Supervisor Wayne A. Self both absent.
Abraham told the board that the Leflore County Juvenile Detention Center will not be able to operate the next 12 months within the confines of its $629,883 budget, a $40,000 budget increase from last year.
Board President Robert Moore said he understood that the detention center was a bit “out of line.” But Abraham said he thinks the center's budget can get “in line,” if the board will look at and work with Leflore County Judge Solomon Osborne's requirement of having four officers on duty at the facility at all times. It is the guards' payroll, according to Abraham, that will push the center past its budgeted money.
According to Robert Fitzpatrick, who oversees the day-to-day operations of the facility, the American Correctional Association requires one guard for every eight juveniles during the day and one for every 16 at night.
The board agreed at the meeting to send Moore to a conference in Dallas, put on by the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, that will discuss ways to address juvenile detention center problems.
“This is not just a problem in Leflore County,” said Moore, who said he received a scholarship to attend the conference. “This a nationwide problem.
“Clearly, we've got to look at the standards. Hopefully, it won't bring us to confrontation, but maybe it will.”