COFFEEVILLE – Supervisors amended the sheriff’s budget to fund a raise mandated during the 2014 Legislative Session during the “first Monday” supervisor meeting.
The increase pushes Sheriff Lance Humphreys’ annual salary from $61,400 to $75,000 effective July 1.
The old pay scale for Yalobusha County started at $56,400, with an additional $10,000 supplement available based on supervisors’ discretion. In 2012 supervisors allocated half of that supplement, bringing Humphreys annual salary to $61,400.
After discussion Monday, supervisors voted to rescind the supplement, which would have been added to the new base pay of $75,000 if they had taken no action.
House Bill 1409 mandating the pay raise was passed back in March and includes five pay brackets for sheriffs statewide ranging from $75,000 for the smallest counties to $99,000 for counties with more than 100,000 people.
Humphreys explained that legislators also increased the process-serving fees generated by sheriff’s departments across the state to help fund the raise.
“Seven years ago, when we first started trying to get a raise in 2007, we added ten extra dollars for serving processing papers,” Hum-phreys told supervisors during the meeting in Coffeeville.
Also during the last legislative session, Humphreys said the fee for serving tax papers was increased from $8 to $35.
“That went into effect this last tax season,” Hum-phreys said.
He reported his department has collected $13,457 for serving tax papers during the current fiscal year, money which is transferred to the county’s general fund.
“On top of that, we will collect about another $3,000 in process for the year. We will be collecting about $17,341 to put back in the general fund for the purpose of the raise,” Humphreys added.
“Let me make sure I am on the same page,” Vaughn said. “This is something that every sheriff does, serves papers. So it just goes back to the general fund,” Vaughn added. “When this raise was asked for five or six years ago, it was under the assumption that added money to the fines would supplement this. But it doesn’t,” Vaughn said. “We may get about $2,000 a year, at the very most, to go toward that $14,000 raise. So it won’t offset it. I am not going against it because I think you deserve every penny of it. But there is no money to offset it, it comes out of the general fund,” Vaughn said.
But Humphreys clarified that the $13,457 was extra money generated this year for serving tax papers when the fee went from $8 to $35, in addition to the earlier $10 increase to which Vaughn was referring.
“I want people to know that there is an extra $13,457 that has come in this year alone. In that statute, it says that is what it is to be used for,” Humphreys explained.
“I can assure you, when it comes out in the press it isn’t going to sound like that,” District Five Frank “Bubba” Tillman said about the extra money generated for serving the papers.
Tillman clarified that he was not referring to inaccurate reporting, but instead the perception from tax payers.
“People that see the job you do, 24 hours a day, should understand the pay you get,” Vaughn said about the increase.
“Absolutely,” District Two Supervisor Amos Sims agreed.
Other business discussed at Monday’s meeting included:
• Supervisors agreed to lease a portion of the county-owned industrial building in Coffeeville previously dubbed the Avery Building to SWM, a subsidiary of Blauer Manufacturing. The company will store sewing machines in the building.
The six-month lease is for $800 a month, starting June 18 when the company took possession of the building. At the end of the lease, it will renew automatically on a month-to-month basis, but can be terminated with 15 days notice.
Vaughn said county officials has asked the company to consider the building for future expansion.
• Employed James Darby as the rubbish landfill operator at $12 per hour.
“He is doing a really good job. We are proud to get him,” Vaughn said.
• Approved a full page ad in the Watermelon Carnival program for $140.
• Approved a request from Harrison Logging to exceed the posted weight limit on County Road 224 in District Three while hauling timber. A second request from Timberland Harvesters LLC on County Road 82, 81, 84 and 215 in District 1. Both companies must post a $2,000 bond to cover any damages to the roads to obtain the county permit.
District Four Supervisor George Suggs was absent from the meeting.