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City Leaders From Across Mississippi Rally at the state Capitol

By Lawayne Childrey | Published 26 Jan 2011 03:44pm | comments
The MML represents 289 city, town and village governments in Mississippi. Yesterday they joined forces for a rally at the Capitol

Leaders of towns and cities across Mississippi are urging state lawmakers to avoid putting new financial burdens on local government. MPB's Lawayne Childrey reports that includes the costs of what they call unfunded mandates.

Even though Mississippi's economic situation appears to be taking a slight turn for the better Louisville Mayor, Will Hill, says his city is still having to walk a very fine line just to make ends meet.

"We've cut our budgets but we live within our means. But as you do that your city infrastructures continue to depreciate. So when we come out of this we're gonna have a lot of repair, a lotta work to do catch-up. But the main thing is to do what we can right now."

"Doing what we can right now" seems fair enough for most city leaders attending a Mississippi Municipal League meeting in Jackson this week. But when it comes to requiring local governments to perform certain actions without any additional funding MML Executive Director, George Lewis says those are burdens that local governments can't continue to bear. Lewis points to a pending immigration bill as one example.

"It gives the implementation of the program to our county and city law enforcement. Now there's nothing in that bill about training or implementing the bill as far as cost are concern. It just says you go do it but we wanna know how are you gonna train these people and what is it gonna cost, and could affect local citizens as far as taxes are concerned."

That's why Hattiesburg mayor and gubernatorial candidate Johnnie Dupree is urging lawmakers to include local leaders in the decision making process.

"And I'm not talking about calling us saying this is what we're considering doing. I'm talking about in the process of developing the bill, that's what this is really about is how do we work together so that we don't have the unfunded mandates or that they are minimized."

A bill that passed the state Senate last week says that during traffic stops or other encounters an officer could check a person’s immigration status if the officers thinks the person might be in the U.S. illegally. The bill now awaits consideration in the House Judiciary A committee. Lawayne Childrey MPB News.

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The MML represents 289 city, town and village governments in Mississippi. Yesterday they joined forces for a rally at the Capitol


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