October 1, 2013 9:45:42 AM
Lowndes County's total value has gone up. Now its supervisors' salaries will also.
Supervisors will receive a $1,000 raise and make $45,700 a year now that the county's total assessed value is more than $1 billion. The pay raise is mandatory by state law, which states supervisors in counties worth between $1 and $2 billion make $45,700.
Supervisors also approved salary increases for county prosecutor Allison Kizer and justice court judges Ron Cooke, Chris Hemphill and Peggy Phillips. They also were compensated $44,700 yearly and will receive an additional $1,000. Sims & Sims, the law firm employing board attorney Tim Hudson, will also receive $45,700.
Lowndes joins six other Mississippi counties -- DeSoto, Harrison, Hinds, Jackson, Madison and Rankin -- in having a total value of at least $1 billion.
The increase will be effective once the board spreads the unanimously passed resolution upon its minutes.
In-kind service request tabled
A request from Crawford Mayor Fred Tolan for about $13,000 in in-kind services to help the town close out a large-scale sewer project was tabled until the board's Oct. 7 meeting to give county road manager Ronnie Burns time to review the tasks his crew would have to perform.
Tolan said the town is finishing a $800,000 sewage overhaul which will improve the quality of life for residents. The town, however, is $19,000 short of the remaining $101,000 project cost. After District 4 supervisor Jeff Smith made a motion to support the project, Board president Harry Sanders said he was not opposed to assisting Crawford but suggested the matter wait one week because he and Burns were seeing the request for the first time.
"(Burns) could probably do it for a lot cheaper than $13,000," Sanders said.
The in-kind portion involves the removal of rotting trees and undergrowth as well as the addition of a small clay gravel driveway.
Trust fund committee passes investment policy
After adjourning from their meeting, supervisors called a meeting of the trustees for the county trust fund and passed an investment policy. The policy sets the ground rules for Stephens Capital Management and Renasant Wealth Management on structuring of the fund portfolio. Those two financial consulting firms were selected to manage the $30 million from the county's hospital sale.
The investment strategy sets allocation policy targets of 2 percent for cash equivalents, 58 percent for fixed income and 40 percent for equities.
Cash equivalent investments include funds deposited in federally insured institutions. Fixed income investments the two management firms can use are general obligation bonds, Mississippi Highway bonds, Tennessee Valley Authority bonds and bonds rated Single A or better. The firms will be able to invest in stocks that are on NASDAQ and have outstanding shares with at total market value of $50 million or more.
Financial consultant Bob Bradford of Pickett, Bradford and Associates in Jackson, who guided trustees through the firm selection process, said the policy gives them leeway but control over how the firms invest.
Under the policy, trustees expect to withdraw 3 percent of the book value of the trust each year from what the firms' investments earn.
Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.
1. Ex-office manager arrested for embezzlement COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY