Jackson County

Who's watching? Jackson County supervisors to consider videotaping meeting

TIM ISBELL/SUN HERALD/2003 
 The Pascagoula River winds through George County before making its way to neighboring Jackson County. Plans are underway to dam the river to create a lake in George County. The Pascagoula River is the only free flowing river in the U. S. A dam would hurt the ecological wonder of the Pascagoula, officials said.
TIM ISBELL/SUN HERALD/2003 The Pascagoula River winds through George County before making its way to neighboring Jackson County. Plans are underway to dam the river to create a lake in George County. The Pascagoula River is the only free flowing river in the U. S. A dam would hurt the ecological wonder of the Pascagoula, officials said.

OCEAN SPRINGS -- It appears the Jackson County Board of Supervisors will be considering having its meetings videotaped, or at least it'll be discussed Monday.

Jackson County has already moved toward more openness by getting more information from board actions on its website, but videotaping would be a big change.

It came up two weeks ago during a discussion about public comment and access to the board and its meetings. The Board of Supervisors decides how $133 million in tax dollars is spent each year to keep county department and services functioning, and it decides which businesses receive tax exemptions, whether property assessments are fair and whether a tax increase is needed, among other things.

New Supervisor Randy Bosarge brought up the idea of video-recording meetings to give residents more access, and he has it on the agenda for Monday's meeting.

"It's so people who can't make the meetings can see what's going on," Bosarge said.

Over the past year and a half, the Singing River Health System pension debacle has attracted a large audience to the supervisors' meetings each week, something the old board wasn't used to. Managing crowd comments -- especially angry ones -- was difficult at times, some board members said.

Whether videotaping would solve some of those issues might be discussed Monday, according to the official meeting agenda.

Also on the agenda is an item that is dear to the Coast Sierra Club's heart -- "a resolution to rescind the Jackson County Board of Supervisors support for the Lake George project."

Lake George is project proposed for George and Jackson counties that would involve damming a tributary to the Pascagoula River, the largest free-flowing river in the lower 48 states, to create twin lakes. For months, Steve Shepherd, chairman of the Coast Chapter of the Sierra Club, has asked Jackson County leaders to stop supporting the project because data indicates it could harm the river's ecosystem and threaten its national designation.

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