CATEGORY: Alcorn County

AUTHOR: SUMMER

ALCORN MULLS BUDGET AS DEADLINE NEARS

Jane Clark Summers

Daily Journal Corinth Bureau

CORINTH - The Alcorn County Board of Supervisors heard more requests for funding Wednesday as the time draws near for adoption of a fiscal 1998 budget.

The Northeast Mississippi Museum Association wants funding to hire a curator. The Jacinto Foundation needs additional funding to make needed improvements.

The Siege and Battle of Corinth Commission is seeking funding to participate in a computerized museum exhibit project. And the Corinth Area Tourism Council is asking budget approval to use about $40,000 in tourism taxes carried over from the 1996 budget.

Representatives of these agencies appeared before the board Wednesday to air their budgetary needs for the upcoming year. All requests were taken under advisement.

For the first time, officers of the museum are seeking financial support from the county. Museum President Sam Pardue requested a small tax levy, 1/4- to 1/3-mill, to pay for a full-time museum curator.

Museum Executive Director Margaret Rogers said the number of visitors at the local museum so far this year has surpassed the total for the entire year of 1996. There were 2,110 visitors in April, she said.

The museum has plans to build a 12,000-square-foot facility on land provided by the city of Corinth. The current museum, which has 2,700 square feet, has been provided by the city for the last 10 years.

Siege and Battle Commission Chairman Rosemary Williams said the agency needs $23,250 from the county and a like sum from the city to continue its work of acquiring, preserving and interpreting Civil War sites in Alcorn County.

The ultimate goal of the commission should be completed in three or four years, Williams said, when the National Parks Service is expected to be operating a $6 million museum and interpretative center in Corinth.

Other commission plans under way include a $2.98 million hiking/biking trail, a $60,000 driving tour map and $60,000 renovation project at the Curlee House.

Jacinto Foundation Director Betsy Whitehurst said the foundation needs $22,000 for 1998, up from $17,000 in 1997. The historic courthouse and grounds, the site of the second largest political speaking in the state, is in need of several improvements, she said.

A 2-percent tourism tax on food and lodgings is expected to bring in $506,000 in 1998.

Tourism Director Emily Wilkinson said the tourism council's half of those proceeds will be spent on advertising, preservation and enhancement of local tourism. The remaining $253,000 from the tourism tax will go toward construction of a multi-purpose convention center.

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