County parks and rec committee to meet again Sept. 30

Published 11:41 am Thursday, September 18, 2014

Two more weeks will pass before the issue of vehicle fees at Clear Creek golf course has a chance at more review by county officials.

Members of the Warren County Parks and Recreation Commission meet again 5:30 p.m. Sept. 30 at the courthouse, facility clerk Mary Puckett said Tuesday. The board meets most often on the third Tuesday of each month.

An agenda is expected to be available by the time the meeting begins. Commission chairman L.T. Walker did not return calls Tuesday.

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A contentious meeting Aug. 19 ended with the five-member panel not acting on a plan floated before the Board of Supervisors the previous week to charge $5 a car for all visitors to the Bovina facility. The commission had projected a deficit of $40,405 for fiscal 2015.

Increased business costs outlined in budget talks with the county board included higher leases on the soccer complex next to the golf course. Fields there sit on 16th Section land owned by the Vicksburg Warren School District. Other costs included higher health insurance premiums for employees and pay raises planned for the course’s 15 full- and part-time employees.

No hike is expected in the county’s allocations to the commission for basic operating costs. The panel that oversees the golf course, soccer fields, baseball fields and a pavilion receives $220,000 from the county’s general fund and another $116,000 from the fund that holds revenue-based taxes paid by Vicksburg’s four casinos.

Commissioners in August had met with two members of the city’s ad hoc committee on recreation in an unplanned closed session, which possibly violated Mississippi’s Open Meetings Act. That panel’s chairman, attorney Omar Nelson, said the following day he and committee member Linda Fondren met with the commission to discuss “different types of funding,” which is not among six reasons spelled out in open meetings law. Also, no members of the parks and rec commission told the 40 or so people in attendance why the session was being closed, another violation of the act.

The Vicksburg Post has submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for minutes of the Aug. 19 meeting. This week, the Warren County Chancery Clerk’s Office awaited completed versions of the minutes from the commission. Ratification by county supervisors of minutes from county-appointed boards, such as parks and rec, the Vicksburg Bridge Commission and the Warren County Port Commission, can lag behind the lower boards’ meetings by about two months.

State law says minutes shall be recorded within 30 days after a public body recesses or adjourns.