County pushes for funding

Published 12:02 am Thursday, January 15, 2015

Adams County’s supervisors visited the state capitol this week to advocate for more state funding for county roads, among other things.

The board of supervisors — along with the county administrator, chancery clerk and board attorney — attended the Mississippi Association of Supervisors’ mid-winter conference in Jackson.

The conference is an educational session for government leaders that also serves as an opportunity for them to learn about issues the legislature will address this year and to lobby their representatives for county-level causes.

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Supervisors Calvin Butler and David Carter said during the conference they met with Rep. Robert Johnson III, D-Natchez, to discuss state aid funding for Adams County’s roads and bridges.

“The state is going to have a surplus in funding this year, and we are making a strong push to use that surplus toward roads,” Carter said. “Roads are infrastructure that is badly needed in Adams County, and some of our rural roads are in pretty bad shape.”

Carter said he estimated approximately a third of county roads would need work in the next couple of years.

Butler said he was particularly encouraged to hear of a proposal before the legislature that will allow counties more freedom in how they use state aid funding.

“We need as much state aid funding as we can get, and we need the chance to be as versatile with that funding as we could,” he said.

“When we got the funding for the bridge on Lower Woodville Road, we could only use it for that bridge even though that bridge wasn’t out and the bridge on Artman Road was out.”

Johnson, who is chairman of the House transportation committee, said at the beginning of the legislative session he would push for the state’s budget surplus to be dedicated to road and bridge upgrades.

Butler and Carter also expressed support for a proposal to generate $0.25 from every cell phone bill to fund county e911 services.

“E911 services used to be based on fees generated based on landline phones,” Butler said. “But now more and more people are switching over to cell phones, and that money isn’t rolling in as much anymore.”

Supervisor Angela Hutchins said she was glad to get a chance to attend the educational sessions at the conference.

“It’s good to learn something new, and it’s good to hear things you know reiterated,” she said.

“I worked in the county for 20-plus years (before I was elected), and at this session, I learned for the first time you can’t make certain kinds of purchases during an election year, unless it is a lease-purchase. I also learned that the supervisors can’t do any hiring during an election year.”

Supervisor Darryl Grennell could not be reached for comment about the conference Wednesday afternoon.

Supervisor Mike Lazarus said he did not attend the conference because of a family matter.