Adams County spent more than $28,000 on travelPublished 12:31am Sunday, July 22, 2012
NATCHEZ — With two months remaining in the fiscal year, Adams County leaders have spent nearly 90 percent of their designated $32,000 annual travel budget.
Between October 2011 and June 16, the supervisors, attorneys and administrator spent $28,580.57 on travel, including two trips to Washington, D.C., and more than a dozen trips within Mississippi.
The board of supervisors has a $30,000 travel budget for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, while the county administrator has a separate $2,000 travel budget.
Travel of other county employees — which for some was extensive — is not included in the $30,000 travel budget. The next highest spending department was the Adams County Sheriff’s Office, which has spent more than $20,000 on travel since October.
The board members are reimbursed for transportation, hotels, meals and tips when traveling for county business.
In many cases, invoice records from the Chancery Clerk’s office show supervisors are advanced money before trips are taken. At least one supervisor reported that a trip listed on the provided invoices was one he never took and for which the county never paid.
Board members are reimbursed 51 cents per mile traveled by personal vehicle and receive a $31 a day meal allowance plus 15 percent of that for tips. In nearly every instance, supervisors were reimbursed for the full meal allotment, with no indication of how much they actually spent on food.
Meal reimbursements for one trip — the Mississippi Association of Supervisors Mid-winter Conference in Jackson — totaled $744 for five supervisors and the county administrator. The conference lasted four days, though one of those days was a partial day for registration.
Breakfast was provided at the conference for two days; lunch provided for three days; and a reception during the dinner hours on the third day, according to a conference agenda found online.
The event even included an ice cream social for spouses.
The Mississippi State Travel Policy states that meal reimbursements should not be given if meals are included in the cost of the conference.
In addition to the conferences and travel, supervisors are reimbursed for mileage used to drive the roads in their district during their terms.
Supervisors Angela Hutchins, Darryl Grennell and Calvin Butler were all reimbursed for road mileage. They received $538.56, $541.11 and $520.20 respectively.