Recent trips cost county $6,800

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 20, 2009

NATCHEZ — For most of the week, four of the five Adams County supervisors weren’t in the county. The board members were taking care of county business outside of Adams County, they said.

Supervisors Thomas “Boo” Campbell, S.E. “Spanky” Felter and Henry Watts were in Biloxi for the Mississippi Association of Supervisors Conference.

And while some board members were on the coast, supervisor Darryl Grennell and Adams County Chancery Clerk Tommy O’Beirne were in Washington, D.C.

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Supervisor Mike Lazarus did not travel.

The trips cost the county approximately $6,800.

Grennell, who was in Washington to discuss financial assistance for Mississippi River Corporation, said the face-to-face meetings that come from travel are extremely valuable.

“It’s critical to be able to get out there and talk to the people who can help make things happen in the county,” Grennell said.

Grennell said he believes that his most recent trip to Washington to discuss MRC, which pays more than $400,000 in taxes annually, will benefit the county and the financially troubled company.

The cost to send Grennell and O’Beirne to Washington was $3,436 total.

Campbell, who was not able to attend the entire supervisors conference due to a family matter, said in the past he’s found such conferences helpful.

“It helps to keep you current on changes at the state level and locally,” Campbell said. “You can really get a lot of information.”

The total cost to send Campbell, Felter and Watts to Biloxi was $3,364.

Adams County Administrator Cathy Walker said the supervisors’ travel accounts for a small portion of the county’s overall travel budget.

In 2008-2009, the county budgeted $210,000 for travel.

Of that $210,000, the supervisors have only used $13,658.

But the travel budget is not comprised solely of county money.

Approximately $100,000 of the total budget comes from federal grants allocated for travel.

Walker said the county should have very little travel expenditures for the rest of the fiscal year, as most of the regular conferences have already occurred.

To date, Campbell has spent $3,189; Felter has spent $2,236; Grennell has spent $4,818; Lazarus has spent $62 and Watts has spent $2,831.

Walker said Grennell’s expenses were higher than his fellow supervisors’ costs because the county paid for his travel to Washington in February when Grennell was a guest speaker at National Association of Counties conference.

Lazarus, who has spent the least on travel, said he felt travel to Biloxi is inconvenient.