An additional $66,000 was collected in the county sanitation department during calendar year 2012, after the monthly garbage fees were increased and exemptions for new retirees and the newly disabled were eliminated in an effort by the Board of Supervisors to curtail an ongoing deficit.

County Administrator Benjie Coats told supervisors on Monday that the county was "making headway and moving in the right direction" to ward off the annual deficit, which at times had been as high as $150,000.

During fiscal 2012, the shortfall was at $41,411.

The county collected $417,734 in sanitation fees in calendar year 2012, compared to $351,750 in 2011.

Neshoba County's monthly garbage fee rose by $2.50 per household in January 2012.

The board also eliminated exemptions for new retirees and the newly disabled after Dec. 29, 2011.

The sanitation department picks up garage at 5,800 households in the unincorporated areas of the county.

Of that number, about 2,000 are currently exempt from the monthly fee, Coats said.

The county bills 3,489 households, leaving about 300 households unaccounted for, he said.

Tax Assessor Mike Lewis, whose office issues the sanitation bills, has been working with supervisors to identify the non-paying households, which are often those who move new mobile homes into the county but fail to register them in his office.

Another example cited is when an exempt retiree dies and a relative or someone else moves into the house and fails to notify the tax office.

Over the past year, about 100 non-paying households were identified and are now being billed.

Coats told supervisors that the county has a 78 percent collection rate on sanitation fees. There are about $260,000 in fees that are delinquent in excess of 1 1/2 years.

"There is still room for improvement," Coats said.

Supervisors have reviewed proposals in recent months from private firms to collect the garbage in the county.

However, the board determined that the county didn't have sufficient revenue to contract the door-to-door garbage pick up because of the more than 2,000 exemptions from the annual fee for elderly and disabled residents.

In addition, the county has some remaining debt on its garbage trucks.