Supervisors face possible fund shortages to keep up roads
During Monday’s meeting of the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors, they discussed how they might approach the future in paving county roads due to situation they are facing in relation to the available funds.
District 3 Supervisor Hudson Holliday said that 99 out of every 100 calls he receives are about the conditions of roads in the county. Holliday said there are approximately 850 miles of roads in the county and he would estimate the lifespan of a road is about 15 years, however County Engineer Les Dungan said that number is more like 8 to 12 years and 15 years would be considered on ‘the very long end’.
Holliday said if you take the 850 miles and divide it by 15 (years), that means the county must pave 56 miles per year just to stay up to speed in keeping the roads in good shape. Holliday said the county has access to funding to only pave about 25-29 miles.
Looking at the challenge of keeping the roads in good shape is not an easy task per Holliday as he stated, “We get elected as Supervisors but that does not mean we are magicians.”“
Everybody looks at us and thinks so much of their taxes are going to the road department, which really a small part of that goes to the road department. We’ve really got to really get focused on where the rest of our money is going so we can plus up the road department,” Holliday said.
Holliday said the ad valorem tax increase based on property assessments is only producing on average about $ 20,000 per year increase for the road department which is putting the county further behind in road maintenance. This year’s budget at $1.7 million.
Holliday said he will have a report ready for the next board meeting to show the current state of roads and funding in the county along with history over the past few years.
County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin said the county has received an initial payment of about $150,000 from the newly implemented internet tax aimed to collect sales tax that would otherwise go unpaid for online purchases. Lumpkin said he and Dungan are trying to get information from the state if the amount received was half of the first payment, the overall amount to be received is more than expected. However, Lumpkin pointed out that they have also heard that amount may be a larger portion paid up front which means the money coming based on the internet sales tax will be less than expected.
Dungan (picutured above) said the information he had found said the amount being collected on internet sales tax is exceeding estimates which should indicate the money coming to the county will likely be more than what was forecast by the state and legislative branch. Those estimates initially were $800,000 per year for the county.