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Report questions spending in Mississippi Gulf Coast county

Mississippi's second most-populous county is under scrutiny by a legislative committee for how it spends money.

Posted: Jan 22, 2018 9:35 PM

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi's second most-populous county is under scrutiny by a legislative committee for how it spends money.

The report was issued Monday by the Joint Legislative Committee on Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review. It said Harrison County supervisors illegally spent road and bridge money on park facilities and spent public money on alcohol. It also questions whether individual supervisors should get to spend from accounts earmarked for their individual districts.

Harrison County Attorney Tim Holleman told the Clarion Ledger that many concerns raised are the fault of clerks or assistants who improperly recorded meeting minutes or expenses. He said supervisors will repay any questioned travel reimbursements. He called the problems "minor issues."

The committee questioned the use of road project money for splash pads, ballpark maintenance and boat launches, saying state law and attorney general opinions say such spending is limited to roads and bridges. The report listed 51 recreation projects between 2015 and 2017 that involved recreation projects funded with money from the road budget.

It criticizes travel reimbursements for county supervisors, citing 33 instances over three years when reimbursements were issued that didn't comply with state law or county travel policies. The report found poor record-keeping meant examiners couldn't be sure supervisors weren't spending for personal items, and at least some expenses that had supposedly been prepaid or which included alcohol or other prohibited items.

The report also suggests the Legislature pass a law limiting spending on advertising by counties. The county Board of Supervisors spent about $100,000 a year the past two years on advertising, including event programs, banners, signs, T-shirts and sports jerseys.

"Why would we spend money to advertise county resources to people in the county?" said supervisor Marlin Ladner, who has opposed such spending. "They're already here. They know it."

The report questioned the Gulf Coast county's operation of road maintenance facilities in each supervisor's district, saying the county is supposed to be operating a unified system and that a central maintenance facility would be more efficient.

Finally, the report found that Harrison County supervisors sometimes meet behind closed doors without following state guidelines. PEER said the county should consult with the Ethics Commission on how to tell the public of the reasons for going into executive session.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 161516

Reported Deaths: 3916
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10863104
Hinds10705207
Harrison7624114
Jackson6774131
Rankin6303114
Lee557798
Madison5311112
Forrest405587
Jones388589
Lauderdale3754149
Lafayette347358
Washington3421108
Lamar310350
Lowndes265168
Oktibbeha262763
Bolivar254686
Panola243754
Neshoba2333124
Marshall229451
Leflore216492
Monroe216278
Pontotoc213631
Lincoln203267
Sunflower198156
Warren189559
Tate187251
Union179626
Copiah176141
Pike170860
Pearl River168170
Itawamba166637
Scott166030
Yazoo164441
Alcorn161529
Coahoma160044
Prentiss159034
Simpson156954
Grenada149545
Adams148852
Leake146244
George138326
Covington137642
Holmes136861
Tippah135230
Winston134326
Hancock132842
Wayne127424
Attala126836
Marion126548
Tishomingo116444
Newton114929
Chickasaw112632
Tallahatchie101227
Clay98527
Clarke96954
Jasper90023
Stone85115
Calhoun82413
Montgomery80726
Walthall80430
Carroll78115
Lawrence76814
Smith76516
Yalobusha75728
Noxubee74817
Perry70127
Greene66023
Tunica64019
Amite61815
Jefferson Davis60818
Claiborne59716
Humphreys56119
Benton51018
Quitman5107
Kemper50019
Webster49514
Wilkinson42522
Jefferson39012
Franklin3866
Choctaw3757
Sharkey33517
Issaquena1254
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 264199

Reported Deaths: 3831
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson35310515
Mobile20626372
Madison14521153
Tuscaloosa13897173
Montgomery12844246
Shelby1127878
Baldwin9501138
Lee807167
Morgan740555
Etowah704870
Marshall695358
Calhoun6939126
Houston559140
DeKalb521843
Cullman490650
St. Clair466557
Limestone462446
Lauderdale452257
Elmore440070
Walker3914112
Talladega386157
Jackson373523
Colbert347948
Blount323146
Autauga294542
Franklin265534
Coffee260023
Dale247355
Dallas236832
Chilton235445
Covington234834
Russell23433
Escambia208832
Tallapoosa192692
Chambers189154
Clarke165422
Pike165215
Marion150236
Winston146325
Lawrence139936
Pickens129720
Geneva12929
Marengo127824
Bibb127038
Barbour121729
Butler121142
Cherokee108224
Randolph108022
Fayette102216
Hale102132
Clay95527
Washington94222
Henry9097
Monroe85311
Lowndes82930
Cleburne80914
Macon77522
Crenshaw73830
Lamar7348
Conecuh73215
Bullock71120
Perry7037
Wilcox65918
Sumter60122
Greene45818
Choctaw43620
Coosa3854
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