After more than 16 years of doing without them, Coahoma County will buy trucks for their supervisors.
The board voted Monday to begin the process of purchasing trucks for each supervisor, but will phase the cost of the trucks into the budget over the next several years.
Board President Paul Pearson brought the issue up and supervisors discussed it at length before a motion by Dist. 2 Supervisor Pat Davis and a second by Dist. 3 Supervisor Derrell Washington brought the issue to a vote. The board voted 3-2 to purchase trucks, with Dist. 4 Supervisor Johnny Newson and Dist. 5 Supervisor Will Young voting against it.
“We have talked about this for more than 15 years and always voted it down, so why do we want to do it now,” said Newson. “I don’t want a county truck or a county phone.”
Pearson said the system of paying supervisors for reporting in-county mileage can be abused and a truck makes accounting easier and fuel purchases can be checked against mileage on the speedometer.
“We approve mileage every month and in doing so we say it is good,” said Pearson. “But no one rides with us to see where we’ve been. With a truck it’s on him and won’t pull the board into it.”
Pearson also said the state is cracking down on mileage and expense and the county has been contacted with those concerns. Pearson said the county has to find ways to cut expenses.
Newson then said he has been for the idea for years.
“But we are under a tight budget,” said Newson. “Where is the money for five trucks coming from?”
County Comptroller Ann Hoskins said the county currently has four new trucks. She also pointed out the money is not in the budget.
Davis said the county has two trucks that could currently be used by supervisors and money allocated in the county budget for board travel and gas expense could be earmarked next year for trucks.
County Administrator Morgan Wood said the county budgets $30,000 annually for mileage and travel for supervisors.
Newson said he didn’t think it was appropriate for supervisors to ride in used trucks when other county employees had new trucks. He asked how long it would take to purchase vehicles under state contract and Wood said it usually takes from one to six months to obtain a truck.
Davis and Pearson said they didn’t need a truck right away and could wait.
The plan is for Washington to get the county’s current truck and Newson to get one in January.