County travel expenses under review

By By Sheila Blackmon/The Meridian Star
July 5, 2001
Lauderdale County supervisors are reviewing county employees' travel expenses after District 5 Supervisor Ray Boswell voiced concerns that some conventions may be "vacations" paid for by taxpayers.
County Administrator Rex Hiatt said supervisors give each department travel funds each year during the budget process, and department heads notify supervisors if they need expenses not within their budget.
Boswell made a motion that board president Jimmie Smith appoint a committee to review travel requests, but Smith said he would do so without a motion.
Smith said the committee would review the efficiency of the process and travel vouchers to determine the validity of approved trips. He asked for volunteers who wanted to serve on the committee, and Boswell had the sole response. Smith said he will appoint a second committee member.
According to information compiled later by the chancery clerk's office and supplied by Hiatt, Lauderdale County employees were budgeted a total $110,736 this year for travel expenses. Since the budget year began Oct. 1, 40.4 percent of the funds or $44,764 has been spent.
Hiatt said he does not anticipate travel during the final three months of the fiscal year to create budget problems.
Supervisors also discussed hiring an assistant director for the Lauderdale County Agri-Center, which met opposition by Boswell.
Supervisors decided the position was needed since the Agri-Center's hours of operation frequently extend beyond normal business hours, but they didn't say what the role should be laborer, administrator or a combination.
Sheila Blackmon is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call her at 693-1551, ext. 3275, or e-mail her at sblackmon@themeridianstar.com.
Did you know?
During the nine-month period from Oct. 1, 2000, to June 30, 2001, Lauderdale County officials and employees took 50 trips at a cost of $44,764 out of the county's $110,736 budget for travel.

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