The Hattiesburg city council held a public hearing to give the public the opportunity to see just how our tax dollars are spent, but WAIT! This hearing is required by Mississippi Law to be held during “non working hours”. After all, many of the taxpayers have jobs and cannot take off work to attend a meeting at 4:00pm, which is exactly when the meeting was held. This is obviously not during “non working hours.” If the council passes a budget on Tuesday they have effectively solidified that they have no regard for due process under state law, and it is highly likely that an emergency injunction will be filed in chancery court to force the city government to comply with state law.
This is not the first time our government has exemplified a blatant disregard for state law. Mayor Johnny Dupree formed an advisory committee back in the fall, where our own city attorney Charles Lawrence was a member. This committee was “an advisory committee” drafting legislation which ultimately drew ire from the community, many business leaders (including restauranteur Robert St. John), and several Hattiesburg attorneys. It was this committee, which met unlawfully, that motivated me to form the Hattiesburg Patriot and Garmon Media, LLC. I encourage all citizens to GET INVOLVED in your government and attend Tuesday’s meeting at 4:00pm to voice your concerns for this unacceptable conduct. We are the people and we must take a stand and let our voice be heard. If YOU don’t stand up for your rights no one will.
READ THE 2nd TO THE LAST SENTENCE IN THE CODE BELOW.
SEC. 21-35-5. Preparation an
d publication of annual budget.
The governing authorities of each municipality of the State of Mississippi shall, not later than September 15 each year, prepare a complete budget of the municipal revenues, expenses and working cash balances estimated for the next fiscal year, and shall prepare a statement showing the aggregate revenues collected during the current year in said municipality for municipal purposes. Such statement shall show every source of revenue along with the amount derived from each source. Said budget of any municipality of one thousand five hundred (1,500) inhabitants or more, according to the last preceding federal census, with said statement of revenue and expenses, shall be published at least one (1) time during September of said year in a newspaper published in such municipality or, if no newspaper be published in such municipality, in any newspaper published in the county wherein the municipality is located. In municipalities of less than one thousand five hundred (1,500) inhabitants, according to the last preceding federal census, as many as three (3) prepared statements of said budget shall be posted in three (3) public places in said municipalities.
Prior to the adoption of a budget pursuant to this section, the governing authority of each municipality shall hold at least one (1) public hearing to provide the general public with an opportunity to comment on the taxing and spending plan incorporated in the proposed budget. The public hearing shall be held at least one (1) week prior to the adoption of the budget with advance notice and held outside normal working hours. The advance notice shall include an announcement published or posted in the same manner as required for the final adopted budget
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