City, county delegation will lobby in D.C. 3/21/2014

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 21, 2014

City, county delegation will lobby in D.C.

By John Howell Sr.
District Five Supervisor Cole Flint and County Administrator Kelley Magee joined Batesville city officials during their Third Tuesday meeting to loan them their wireless Verizon tablets and to help explain their use.

County supervisors began using the wireless tablets last month in an effort to reduce the amount of paper required for dissemination of information. Two Verizon officials joined the meeting at Batesville City Hall to facilitate the tablets’ use.

During the meeting, Mayor Jerry Autrey and aldermen Stan Harrison, Eddie Nabors and Ted Stewart signed up to join Panola County supervisors Kelly Morris and James Birge, Panola Partnership CEO Sonny Simmons and city engineer Blake Mendrop for a trip to Washington to lobby for the city and county.

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The Panola delegation has meetings scheduled with Senators Roger Wicker and Thad Cochran and with Congressman Bennie Thompson Tuesday and Wednesday, April 8 and 9.

Alderman Stewart at the March 4 meeting had urged a personal visit to Panola’s Congressional delegation following a conversation he had with Representative Thompson. “He said when you go up there, it just makes a difference,” Stewart said.

“They will fly out on the eighth, meet all the Congressional delegation on the ninth and fly back that night,” Mayor Autrey said.

The expenses will be paid by each entity represented
Also during Tuesday’s meeting, city officials heard again from insurance representatives Brad Clark and Brad Camp.

Clark told the mayor and aldermen that insurance rates for city employees’ dental, life and accident would remain the same. Vision insurance would increase by 51 cents per month, Clark said. Employees pay for those insurances through payroll deductions.

After briefly considering whether to seek lower rates through another company, aldermen voted unanimously to stay with the current vision insurance carrier because it is widely accepted by local optometrists.

City Parks and Recreation employee Albert Norwood drew a few chuckles from city officials when he described the ongoing work at the parks in the absence of City Parks Director Robert Lightsey.

“We’re following strictly what he did,” Norwood said. “Actually, I’ve been with Robert since the sixth grade. I know how he (does) things; he’s real tight on everything; don’t waste nothing, so I know how he operates.”

Lightsey recently underwent stem cell transplant treatment for leukemia in Nashville. Norwood and Robert Lightsey’s son, Brad Lightsey, have been maintaining the parks during his absence.

“I talk to him, … sometimes every day; we talk constantly; nothing has changed up,” Norwood told city officials.