The Lowndes County Board of Supervisors unanimously gave themselves a raise Tuesday morning.
A recently passed state law allows supervisors to give themselves a bump, based on the assessed value of the counties they represent, County Administrator Jay Fisher explained.
“The law authorizes the county board of supervisors to give a raise effective July 1,” he said.
The amount of the raise is determined by the county’s assessed value, and Lowndes County’s assessed value as of 2021 was $985,604,407, Fisher said.
The supervisors’ new salary will be $50,000 per year.
The supervisors currently make slightly different salaries. District 1 Supervisor Harry Sanders, District 3 Supervisor John Holliman, District 4 Supervisor Jeff Smith and District 5 Supervisor Leroy Brooks all make $47,071 per year, while District 2 Supervisor Trip Hairston makes $46,041.
The discrepancy is because of changes in the assessed value, Hairston said.
“When I was elected, the valuation was below $1 billion,” Hairston said. “Before that the valuation was over that, so the supervisors prior to 2020 got a higher pay rate.”
The raise has to be acted on this year, Fisher said.
“Raises can also be given in 2024 and 2028, but those would have to be acted on by those future boards,” Fisher said.
It’s been nearly 10 years since supervisors got a raise, Hairston said.
“The Mississippi Association of Supervisors made this one of their top legislative priorities in the last session,” Hairston said. “This is the first time there’s been any kind of increase in pay since 2014. The MAS would like for this job to be attractive, and they think there needs to be some adjustments in salaries.”
The Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors has not yet approved a raise, according to President Bricklee Miller.
“We have not voted on that yet,” she said. “It was talked about, but to my knowledge that has not been done yet.”
Miller said that raises were on the agenda for the next supervisors meeting.
Supervisors in Oktibbeha County currently make $47,000, she said.
Estes hired as Justice Court Clerk
Carley Estes, who is currently Fisher’s administrative assistant, was hired as the new clerk at Justice Court.
Estes starts July 1 at a pay rate of $48,000. After six months her performance will be reviewed, and she will potentially get a raise to $50,000, Fisher said.
Fisher said that the position had been advertised internally, per county policy, and three people applied. Two of those, Estes and Rebecca Skinner, merited interviews. After conducting those, he decided to hire Estes for the job.
“She has a good background in the court system and knows that system well,” Hairston said. “We look for good things from her, and think she’ll be a good fit.”
Estes has been Fisher’s administrative assistant for exactly a year, as of Tuesday. She replaced longtime administrative assistant Cythia Thompson.
Prior to coming to Fisher’s office, Estes worked for five years as the victim assistance coordinator in District Attorney Scott Colom’s office.
Estes got a degree in paralegal studies from Mississippi University for Women in 2016.
“This is what I went to school for,” she said. “Coming from the DA’s office I felt like this was a position that would get me back in that field.”
Former clerk Linder Irby retired at the end of May.
Fisher said he had not begun the process of replacing Estes yet.
Brian Jones is the local government reporter for Columbus and Lowndes County.