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Supervisors prepare to lobby county to legislators

NATCHEZ — State legislators convening the 2013 session will be met early on next week by a lobbying effort from nearly every county supervisor in the state.

The Mississippi Association of Supervisors will open its convention Tuesday, the day the legislature convenes, and all of Adams County’s supervisors will be there to meet with legislators and other supervisors.

“One of the reasons to attend the conference is to deal with legislative issues that are germane to county government,” Supervisors President Darryl Grennel said. “We get updates on current legislation, and we deal with proposed pieces of legislation that are important for county government, and (the MAS) actually adopts resolutions (for or against legislation).

Supervisor Calvin Butler said issues that will affect supervisors at the state level that he will be paying attention to this year include charter schools and is the funding of the local system bridge program

The bridge program was not funded last year, and many rural county supervisors said they were not able to do bridge maintenance and repair projects because of it. It’s an issue that’s close to Supervisor Angela Hutchins.

“I want to see that they approve the local bridge money because I have one out in Deerfield, and while they are currently doing temporary repairs on it to get it back open, I want to make sure there is money there for the next time so there can be a whole-constructed new bridge,” she said. “Right now you have got people going 45 minutes out of the way to get around (the closed bridge).”

To ensure their lobbying efforts carry the most punch, after the supervisors are informed about the legislative issues that might affect them, they travel en masse to the capitol.

“We all take a bus, and all the supervisors go over together,” Supervisor Mike Lazarus said. “It carries a little more clout that way.”

When the supervisors aren’t lobbying, they will also have the opportunity to attend educational sessions about the work of supervisors.

“It is a refresher course in being a supervisor,” Butler said. “There are a few things I need to go back and hear again, things that you might need to hear over and over to make sure you are on the right path. You also get to meet with other supervisors in the state who might be having the same problems and see how they are addressing it.”

Grennell said he would be meeting with representatives from the state auditor’s office and the department of environmental quality about how the county can implement the collection of garbage bills through a special assessment.

“We are hoping that we will be able to have a work session to deal with that issue and to ask the questions that are germane to our proposed plan for Adams County,” he said.

Grennell also said he would make an effort to recruit the MAS’s summer conference to Natchez for the city’s 2016 tri-centennial.

“In order to get the conference, you have got to constantly reemphasize it and remind people that you are willing to host these conferences,” he said. “If I am given the privilege to speak about this from the floor, I will do it.”

Supervisor David Carter could not be reached for comment.

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