Supervisors hear funding requests

DeSoto County supervisors are in the early stages of setting their budget for the coming fiscal year. 

Monday, supervisors spent time during their regular meeting to hear from representatives of organizations the county typically provides financial support as part of their budget. 

No decisions were being made Monday by the board. Monday’s agenda items were done to update supervisors on the organizations.  

During his time with the board, DeSoto County Museum Curator Rob Long detailed what the museum does for the county. Long said the museum has brochures for all of the cities. He added the museum has a mobile exhibit it is working on to provide outreach to the county communities.  

The DeSoto County Museum regularly receives visitors who stop at the Hernando location to learn more about the county’s history. In fact, Long noted the museum had someone from Ecuador stop by two weeks ago.  

Lori Barnes appeared as the new Director for the First Regional Library System. Barnes started with the library system on July 1 from the Jackson-George Library System in southern Mississippi. 

She has served on the Mississippi Library Association board and was appointed by former Gov. Phil Bryant to serve on the Board of Commissioners of the Mississippi Library Commission.  

Barnes said the libraries in the FRL System have now returned to pre-COVID operating hours and some of the libraries, including the Hernando location, are now open longer than before.  

Barnes told supervisors they are asking for level funding of $1.395 million as they are looking to provide a full slate of programming this fall.  

Executive Director Sarita Drake of the women’s and children’s domestic abuse shelter House of Grace told supervisors of her own story as a victim of domestic violence and how the House of Grace benefited her. Earlier this year, Drake became the new leader of the House of Grace.   

“Our goals are to to keep women safe while they explore their options,” Drake said. “Many times they have been in it so long, it becomes normal.  We provide a safe place for them to decide what to do for themselves, help them become a survivor and have their own voice.”

The House of Grace has a thrift store near its offices in Southaven and Drake talked about the best sellers in that store, the good clothes and wood furniture that is available. She added donations are welcome and that volunteers will come and pick up donated furniture for the store.  

Executive Director Sally Williams and Board of Directors member Mary Lee Brown from the Healing Hearts Child Advocacy Center (CAC) told supervisors they served more than 8,000 families in the past year. The organization that provides services to victims of child abuse and their families broke down their services the past year to more than 750 forensic interviews, more than 700 mental health sessions, over 440 reviews, over 80 prosecution outomce and more than 400 law enforcement outcomes for child abuse. 

The center is requesting $15,000 as a match to what is provided by the Tate County, the other area service by Healing Hearts, which also gets separate funding assistance from Olive Branch, Southaven, Hernando, and Senatobia.  The CAC is mainly funded by federal grants and fundraising efforts during the year, one of which will be a new Christmas tree sale during the holiday season at Silo Square in Southaven.  

The other agency that presented before the Board of Supervisors on Monday was the Arc Northwest Mississippi, represented by Executive Director Rebecca Treadway and Austin Allmon, who benefits from the Arc, participates and sits on the Board of Directors. 

“Before I found the Arc, I felt like in high school only a couple of people like me,” Allmon told the board. “Now I know lots of people like me.  The Arc helps me so much.  She (Treadway) has helped me get jobs.”

Treadway reminded the board of the Arc’s upcoming fundraising event, “Boots and BBQ.” The gala is set for Aug. 28, 7 p.m. at the Landers Center in Southaven. Tickets are now being sold at $50 a person.  

The DeSoto Arts Council was also scheduled to appear at Monday’s meeting but no representative from the Arts Council appeared to speak.  

Supervisors are scheduled to begin reviewing the budget in meetings set for 1 p.m. next Monday, Aug. 9 and on Aug. 23 at 8 a.m.  

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