TUPELO, MISS. (WCBI) – As Phil Morgan settles into his new offices, he is mindful of the upcoming legislative session and two areas that weren’t funded last time lawmakers met.
“We failed to receive funding for rural fire truck acquisition program as well as bridge replacement program, we are fortunate in Lee County, we have utilized our money over the years and to my knowledge we do not have any low rated bridges now but we still have some bridges that need repair,” Morgan said.
Like one on Pratts-Friendship Road. Over the years, water has eroded the east headwall. Now, the bridge is being repaired, with money the county had set aside.
Mississippi counties have kept their bridges safe and up to code with help from the Local System Bridge Program. That program was underfunded by 20 million dollars. The Mississippi Association of Supervisors has requested 30 million dollars in 2013 for the program.
Morgan says future funding is vital to maintain and repair the county;s bridges.
“If a bridge is found to be deficient, then there’s no funds to replace it and you would have to close the road that’s certainly nothing we want to do,” he explained.
Morgan is also concerned about another program he says is vital to the public’s safety. The rural fire truck acquisition program. In recent years, $20,000,000 had been appropriated for the program, but last year, the funds weren’t there.
“You just can’t equip your department, build buildings, and purchase fire trucks unless you have some state funding in there,” Morgan said.
There are a host of issues facing other area counties, some of those concerns include, increasing the surcharge for 9 1 1 funding, assessing taxes on low income housing and collecting taxes on mobile homes placed on rental property. Lee County Board of Supervisors President Phil Morgan and his colleagues know there’;s no easy fix, but they are lobbying state representatives and senators, encouraging them to find ways to fund programs many believe are vital to a county’s health, and future growth.
RECENTLY, THE MISSISSIPPI ASSOCIATION OF SUPERVISORS HELD MEETINGS WITH SUPERVISORS IN A SIX COUNTY AREA, TO GET THEIR INPUT ON ISSUES THEY WANT LAWMAKERS TO ADDRESS.