Sunday Focus: County supervisors travel budget examined

Published 12:01 am Sunday, November 16, 2014

(Illustration by Rod Guajardo / The Natchez Democrat)

(Illustration by Rod Guajardo / The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — Members of the Adams County Board of Supervisors — along with their board attorney and county administrator — received $26,941 in taxpayer-funded reimbursements for travel during fiscal year 2013-2014.

The reimbursements included receipts for hotel stays, meals, tips, mileage, fights, parking, taxi fare, excess baggage and other fees.

Meals are reimbursed on a daily per deim of $41 with 20 percent tips.

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The travel included educational sessions and conferences in Biloxi, Vicksburg and Jackson, trips to the state Capitol to discuss the then county-owned hospital’s bankruptcy and a conference in Washington, D.C., among others.

Reimbursements also included routine payment for mileage traveled for county business.

Records indicate two supervisors — President Darryl Grennell and Angela Hutchins — were reimbursed in excess of $8,500, while one supervisor — Mike Lazarus — claimed only $522.95 in travel expenses for the year.

All travel reimbursements require a vote of approval from the board.

Non-quorum conferences

Only two supervisors, — Grennell and Hutchins — attended the single most expensive conference, the National Association of Counties convention in Washington, D.C. The five-day NACO conference, which started March 1, cost $4,446.43.

The total included two sets of $956 bills for four nights in the Washington, D.C., Hilton Hotel, $205 for meals, $41 for tips, $65 for airport parking in Jackson, $250 for taxi fares in Washington and $515 for conference registration and 133.19 for mileage to and from the Jackson airport.

Hutchins also claimed $242.50 for a plane ticket, $50 for excess baggage fees and $136.64 in taxes and other fees associated with the hotel.

Grennell claimed $319 for his plane ticket to Washington, D.C., $138.64 in taxes and other fees for the hotel and $120 for excess baggage.

Grennell is a member of the national justice committee for NACO.

“We always have our committee meetings during the NACO conference, and there are a number of workshops that I attend during the entire conference,” he said.

“While I am in (Washington, D.C.), I have meetings with the congressional delegation to discuss issues germane to Adams County.”

This year’s discussions with congressional leaders included a request to get Federal Emergency Management Agency officials to revisit a past decision to decline including damage to the Lake Mary road from the 2011 flood in its damage reimbursement package, Grennell said.