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DeSoto Co urged to trim budget

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Hernando, Ms -

When DeSoto County Supervisor Harvey Lee talks budget cuts, it concerns him.

"One of the things that bothers me is we have to cut some people and I struggle with that," he said. "But I am a custodian of the taxpayers dollars."
 
Countywide departments are facing possible budget cuts of 5 percent - eight janitors who work for the county cleaning buildings have been among the first to go.
 
"We have got to watch it, what we spend our money on," Lee said. "We have saved $125,000 on the housekeeping part of it."

MORE: Review 2013 DeSoto County budget draft

Lee, though, said a lot of the 5 percent cuts across the board in the county are to pay for the operation of the new county jail, which is much needed.
 
"They are telling us that by the end of 2020 that we are going to be in need of a 1,0000-bed jail here in Desoto County and that is unreal because crime is not slowing down," he said. "Well the No. 1 thing is we have the new jail that we have to budget for the next year. That's one reason we are asking everyone to cut 5 percent that will cost the taxpayers $2 million per year extra."
 
But what makes no sense is Sheriff Bill Rasco has been asked to cut his budget by 5 percent in 2013, to help fund the operation of the new county jail in 2014.

"Crime is not slowing down," Lee said. "The sheriff of this county is keeping it down and he is doing a real good job with his budget."
 
So why in the world in one of the fastest growing counties in Mississippi would you have to have budget cuts in the first place? Just like everywhere else, money is getting tight.
 
"Well we had a lot of good growth but our growth is not there right now," Lee said. "At one time we were building hundreds of houses a month, or thousands of houses a month. Now we are only building between 50 to 100 to 200, but it's not a good economy."
 
If there is any good news in this, it's that the library system in DeSoto County is only facing a 2 percent cut.

"The library isn't being cut that much because that is an educational situation."

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