Supervisor walks out of meeting

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 6, 2008

NATCHEZ — A meeting between the Adams County Board of Supervisors and the Adams County Road Department ended before it ever started for one supervisor.

Board member Darryl Grennell said he thought the meeting might have been in violation of the unit system of government, and therefore the law, and asked to be excused from the meeting by board President Henry Watts.

Watts obliged.

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According to the unit system of government, the system used by Adams County, supervisors cannot meet directly with department employees.

Instead supervisors must meet directly with department heads.

Watts and Supervisor Mike Lazarus said they did not feel the meeting was in direct violation of the unit system.

“This is just us talking,” Lazarus said.

Watts said he intended for the meeting to be a way for the two county agencies to come together and simply discuss concerns and possible solutions to problems on both sides.

“I appreciate them and the work they do,” he said. “And I want to hear their suggestions.”

Grennell said he thought the subject was still too delicate to broach and left the meeting.

“If I’m violating the law then so be it,” Watts said at the meeting.

Interim board attorney Bobby Cox was not present at the meeting.

Once under way, much of the meeting’s discussion was centered on money.

As soon as the meeting started, Sylvia Bunch, a worker with the road department, said many of the road department’s problems could be solved with more manpower and more machinery.

“Our budget gets cut every year,” she said. “We can’t do more with less.”

County Administrator Cathy Walker provided figures showing that since 2001, the road department’s budget has been cut every year.

And since 2001, the department has had approximately $2.3 million cut from its budget.

Watts said the money was likely put into a general fund and used on other projects.

Road Manager Clarence “Curly” Jones said as soon as the weather warms and the rains stop, he will need at least six more men on his crew.

But the addition of half a dozen crewmen may not come so easily.

Watts said if the department has a need for more men and more equipment they will be provided.

However the additions will not come quickly.

Watts said much of the $2.3 million went as industries like International Paper left taking their tax base with them.

And the money likely won’t start flowing again until companies like Rentech and Denbury are up and running.

“It’s a phase in type thing,’’ he said.

Watts said before the board and the road department meet again, the department will have prepared an outline showing where additional men and machinery are needed.