State supervisors dealing with tight budgets

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Demand is up, and money is down. That's what county supervisors from across the state are saying as they gather this week in Biloxi.

"We have high unemployment and we have bad roads, and we don't have much revenue in Wilkinson County," Wilkinson County Supervisor Mack Haynes said. "It's sort of tough up there. And now we have that high water from the Mississippi River and Lake Mary and it's just bad up there."

Among all the hoopla of vendors booths, and networking, the supervisors are dealing with a more stark reality back home.

"The state has cut us back. We get unfunded mandates to do this and do that," Tate County Supervisor Cam Walker said. "Of course, you know what fuel has done to us. All these things keep going up, but our revenues keep going down."

These supervisors come from across the state with all different backgrounds. But they are all saying the same thing at this supervisors' convention: These are tough times. Larry Dennis from Holmes County is one of them.

"There's no jobs and people are really frustrated because there are no jobs," Dennis said. "Right now, you have to be conservative with a lot of things. Some things you can do and some things you can't do. Basically you do your needs and not your wants."

The vendors at the conference know money is tight, but some offer services that can make those tax dollars stretch further. Ken Gilbert is a planning consultant.

"I help them look at seeing if they might be able to scale back on some services and buy more than they really need, and sort of reallocate that money to services they really do need to focus more on," Gilbert said.

This 82nd annual supervisors convention runs through Thursday night.  It's being held at the Coast Coliseum and Convention Center.

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