Harrison County Tells The State To Forget The 21 Million Dollars
August 10, 2001 at 7:47 PM CDT - Updated June 29 at 8:05 PM
If the state of Mississippi is expecting to 21-million dollars from Harrison County, the state will be waiting a very long time. That word today from Harrison County Supervisors President Larry Benefield.
Earlier this week, Benfield got a letter from the Mississippi Department of Transportation. That letter claims the money is for right of ways on the Cowan Road widening project. Friday afternoon, both Benefield and Southern District Highway Commissioner Wayne Brown came to our studios to talk about the controversy. First, Benfield told Brown the state can forget about getting 21 million dollars from the county. " We have no doubt in our minds the citizens of Harrison County are not committed to pay 21 million dollars" says Benefield.
The supervisor says he was stunned when he opened up his mail this week to see a bill for 21 million dollars.
Commissioner Brown can understand why Benefield was shocked.
Brown told Benefield, "The error I made was not calling or having our staff call the Harrison County people, to get that letter in the mail was absurd and a shock."
Benefield says a bill passed in the early 90's, specifically states the county did not have to pay for the right of ways. Commissioner Brown was less certain of that, but says both sides need to come to an understanding on exactly what the bill says.
" First thing, we need to get to the bottom of this, did the gaming bill, does it negate this agreement, are we going to find it in the law that it did?"
Both men emphasized they are determined to keep this out of the courts,
Benefield told WLOX's Doug Walker, "Why spend more money, going out to hire lawyers, pitting government against government, when the law speaks for itself."
Both Benefield and Brown say they are confident both sides can work things out.