Economic development tops agenda

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 8, 2000

Adams County Supervisors have a number of legislative issues on their minds as they pack their bags for a supervisors’ mid-winter conference in Jackson Tuesday.

Top on most supervisors’ agendas has been the economy of southwest Mississippi.

&uot;I read with interest local legislators’ comments about economic development for southwest Mississippi,&uot; said Virginia Salmon, President of the Adams County Board of Supervisors. &uot;I surely hope that takes place. I still contend that southwest Mississippi has been overlooked.

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&uot;A lot of places in Mississippi have bloomed economically. If any part does better, the state as a whole seems uplifted. I look forward to southwest Mississippi getting some direct input from the state.&uot;

Another concern of Salmon’s is the cost to Mississippi counties for the appeals defense of persons sentenced to death row.

&uot;We passed a resolution supporting legislative action for public defender,&uot; she said.

Counties currently bear this cost, Salmon said.

&uot;There was a movement afoot last year to shift this cost to the state,&uot; Salmon said. &uot;But it just didn’t get passed.&uot;

If Adams County has a death row inmate granted an appeal, Adams County would pay for that appeal, she said.

Sammy Cauthen, vice president of the board, said the top item on his wish list for Legislators would be tax reform.

&uot;Counties should receive sales tax generated in the county outside the city,&uot; Cauthen said.

Cauthen would also like to see public defenders on state payrolls.

&uot;I’d also like to see some Department of Transportation&160;money for ports and harbors this session,&uot; he said.

The Natchez-Adams County Port has been in search of funding for major improvements over the last several years. Having just completed a bulk loading dock, funds are still needed for the purchase of a new crane.

Cauthen added that he’d like to see some funds for environmental projects.

Supervisor Darryl Grennell appreciates the need for environmental funding.

&uot;I get a lot of phone calls about erosion,&uot; Grennell said.

Erosion control is a critical issue for Adams County, given its silty soil, he said.

&uot;On a local and private level though, my top priority has got to be economic development,&uot; Grennell said. &uot;We’ve got to decide if we’re taking the EDA from a 15-member board to a five member board and how they will be selected.&uot;

Other community concerns are likely to surface when Grennell meets with legislators during the supervisors’ conference next week.

&uot;I also hope the Legislature continues to support fire protection in rural areas,&uot; he said. &uot;And I’d like to keep in contact on education in our communities — make sure an appropriate student/teacher ratio is maintained.&uot;

Supervisor Thomas &uot;Boo&uot; Campbell said economic development is also top on his agenda.

&uot;I imagine we as board will get together and prioritize, but in reference to making changes to the EDA board, there should be legislation from both from city and county to get it to a workable size.&uot;

Both Campbell and Cauthen mentioned a desire to see legislators fund future mandates to the counties.

&uot;I would love mandates that come down to us be funded,&uot; Campbell said.

Campbell said he would also like to see the issue of elected or appointed school boards resolved.

&uot;I’d like to get that behind us once and for all,&uot; he said. &uot;It would be better for whole community to get that settled.&uot;

Adams County’s local delegation to the Legislature do a good job, Campbell said. &uot;Overall, I think that we will have some things we can get accomplished this year.&uot;

Adams County’s newest supervisor, Lynwood Easterling, has set his top priority as keeping county tax revenue at home.

&uot;It was my concern when I ran for supervisor, and it’s a concern of the people in U.S. 61 North area,&uot; Easterling said.

&uot;If we can get revenue coming back into the county, maybe we can give county employees the pay raises they deserve.&uot;