Supes OK Drug Court

On March 5, Hinds County supervisors approved funding for a youth drug court, authorized a tax abatement and discussed investing money from the $30 million 2007 bond on the market.

Board financial adviser and Malachi Group CEO Porter Bingham told the supervisors that through market investments of the 2005 bond, the board saved $204,000 this year. He said that investing money from the 2007 bond could result in a total of $15 million in savings. However, the investment will cost the county "under $300,000" in administrative fees.

The board voted 4-1 to allow Bingham's team to come up with an investment strategy. Peggy Calhoun asked Bingham why the Malachi group had not considered these savings when determining that the bond issuance would result in a one-mil tax increase in 2008.

In an interview with the Jackson Free Press, Calhoun said that Bingham advised the supervisors to pass a one-mil tax increase, and that it was advertised publicly.

"Why would (the Malachi Group) allow the board to misinform people with these advertisements? If they did, I would question their integrity," Calhoun said.

Bingham did not return calls.

Calhoun also told Bingham at the meeting that she felt insulted by the 2007 bond closing party he threw at Tico's, because the restaurant is in Madison County.

In an interview with the Jackson Free Press, Anderson called Calhoun's concerns stupid. "(Tico's) is located in Madison County, but it's my favorite restaurant," he said. "She goes to Northpark (Mall) all the time, spending her money."

The board unanimously approved freezing the tax assessment on the Electric 308 building at a level when the building was "a gutted shell," according to tax assessor Mike Barnes. However, current Hinds County economic development district Executive Director Blake Wallace did not recommend the abatement because he had not received required reports from Ted Duckworth, CEO of Duckworth Realty.

"I think it was just a lapse in the administration. Unfortunately, the city process took so long that by the time it came back to Hinds County, there was a new director," Duckworth told the Jackson Free Press.

"These old buildings are so expensive to renovate. Without some incentive to do so, they won't get re-done," Duckworth said.

The supervisors also approved, in a 3-0 vote, Hinds County funding for a youth drug court treatment coordinator and case manager, pending reimbursement from the state.


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