Supervisors have spent nearly

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 31, 2005

$40,000 on travel expenses



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The Natchez Democrat

NATCHEZ &045; Adams County supervisors, who have spent more than $38,000 on travel expenses for out-of-town conferences this year, said those meetings have yielded information about grants and other projects for the county.

Supervisors have spent more than $38,000 on travel expenses and registration for conferences in the fiscal year that started Oct. 1, according to figures from the Chancery Clerk’s Office.

Expenses include those for Sammy Cauthen, who spent $9,265; Darryl Grennell, $8,931; Thomas &uot;Boo&uot; Campbell, $5,476; Henry Watts, $4,217; and S.F. &uot;Spanky&uot; Felter, $3,438.

When contacted Wednesday, most supervisors said that through meetings of county officials’ organizations such as the Mississippi Association of Supervisors, they:

4Learn about grant and loan sources. Cauthen said a meeting of the Mississippi Water Resources Board, on whose board he serves, landed an addition $5 million for the state’s intermodal connector program, which helps build connector roads to such facilities as ports.

&uot;I got (Port Director) Tony Hauer on the committee that prioritizes those projects,&uot; Cauthen said. &uot;And this past year, we got $250,000 for the (Adams County) Port from that program.&uot;

He also cited close to $500,000 in improvements to Carthage Point Road and the possibility of $6 million in improvements to roads through the St. Catherine National Wildlife Refuge as results of such meetings.

Grennell, Board of Supervisors president, said the county learned through such meetings about grants that have been used to clean up illegal dumpsites in recent years.

4Find out the latest on federal and state mandates they’ll be asked to fund.

&uot;We we go we find out how much money we might get for roads and bridges, where we can find funds for (erosion control) projects, what grants might be available and what the match would be for them,&uot; Supervisor Thomas &uot;Boo&uot; Campbell said.

4Plan, with other supervisors, a strategy for lobbying for &045;&160;or against &045; legislation that would affect counties. &uot;Hopefully, we will have an increase in homestead reimbursement to the counties as a result of the supervisors banding together and meeting with legislators,&uot; Grennell said.

4Network with people who could help Adams County land industrial prospects or tap into funding sources. Grennell said his good working relationship with Mississippi Development Authority exec Gray Swoope came from networking at such meetings.

4Learn how to take advantage of technology to make government more user-friendly and help &uot;sell&uot; the county to potential residents and business prospects &045; such as a seminar that taught supervisors how to set up county Web pages. Adams County is working to update its current page, Grennell said.

4Teaches a supervisor which actions may violate state law or codes of ethics, Felter said.

4See what ideas and issues other counties have, giving local officials a perspective they couldn’t get from only attending local supervisors’ meetings, Watts said.

But he added the amount of good the county gets out of such conferences depends on how each supervisor uses his time while he’s there.

&uot;If you want to go on a fishing trip or play golf all day, you can,&uot; Watts said. &uot;But if you want to get in there and learn how to be a better supervisor, there’s classes all day.&uot;

Cauthen said that for his part, he attends plenty of classes to get the most he can out of such conferences.

Still, Felter said although he likes to get as much information as he can about mandates and upcoming legislation that could affect counties, he would like to see MAS and other associations send boards of supervisors videotapes with the same information.

&uot;That way, we could watch it as a group or sit at home and watch it instead of taking these trips,&uot; Felter said, calling most information that’s presented in seminars on law and ethics &uot;common sense.&uot;