Supervisors Mull Money

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Mississippi State's manager for the Opera House Project, Dr. Bev Norment, came to the supervisors Monday to request the $1 million in additional funding that was discussed several meetings ago.

"In terms of the impact on the local economy, we anticipate revenue, payroll with the operation of the center, almost $5 million a year will be a result of the project," said Norment.

But District 5 supervisor Ray Boswell objected, saying that when the board allocated the original $3 million, they were promised there would be no further requests.

"I don't know what this board's going to hope to give them today. I'm not going to vote to give them any more," Boswell said.

No other supervisor spoke up. The board set a public hearing for Dec. 15 and will not act on the request until that time. At the last meeting of the board, it voted to give the Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Center $150,000 in seed money for the project, with the provision the city would do the same.

The city agreed to contribute $100,000. Boswell Monday voiced opposition to the board's original action. Boswell argued that, since the city had given only $100,000, the county should cut its grant back to the same amount.

No other supervisor defended the original action. Finally, District 1 supervisor Hank Florey, who was previously on the Arts Center Committee, agreed with Boswell's position.

"I'd like to make a motion that we take out of the cash reserves $100,000 as seed money for the Arts and Entertainment Center," said Florey.

The cutback to $100,000 was eventually approved five to zero.