June 11, 2013 9:55:19 AM
County leaders will spend much of next week out of town attending workshops and networking with colleagues statewide at the Mississippi Association of Supervisors annual convention in Biloxi.
District 1 Supervisor and Board President Harry Sanders said all supervisors except Bill Brigham, Road Manager Ronnie Burns, County Attorney Tim Hudson, Chancery Clerk Lisa Younger Neese and County Administrator Ralph Billingsley will be representing Lowndes County at the conference.
The purpose of the convention is to provide continuing education opportunities for county leaders that will help them become more effective in serving their constituents, Sanders said.
"Lowndes County has been on the forefront and has been a leader in economic development for the state in the last four or five years, so there will be a lot of questions that other supervisors are going to ask us on what are we doing that's different from what they're doing and ... what advice we have for them," Sanders said. "It's a learning process for a lot of us. If you go there with the right attitude to see what you can learn and what you can do to better perform your job, you can do it. Our contingency ... they're there trying to figure out what they can do to help the county and do a better job."
In a past conference, Lowndes County leaders learned it's unlawful to allow cable TV and telephone companies to use rights of way and land for the installation of equipment free of charge, Sanders said. He added state law dictates county leaders can charge those companies up to 5 percent of gross revenue for letting them use easements so they can effectively run their services. As a result, the county now receives more than $200,000 a year. Sanders suggested that one tip has more than justified the expense of attending the conference.
"Continuing education is what it is and if you sit back and think you know it all, you find out real quick you don't," Sanders said. "You can always get some good ideas from other people."
MAS members convene twice a year, the other time being in Jackson each January to meet with legislators, review docket items to be considered during the Senate and House session, make recommendations and hold elections for MAS officers.
Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.
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