June 15, 2008

Coast Plays Host to Supervisors, Municipal League Conferences

By Mary Perez, The Sun Herald, Biloxi, Miss.

Jun. 15--BILOXI -- Elected leaders from across the state will converge on the Coast for the Mississippi Association of Supervisors Annual Conference this week and the Mississippi Municipal League Conference that begins on June 23.

Ways to stretch municipal budgets will be a hot topic at the meetings, both of which will be held at the Coast Coliseum & Convention Center in Biloxi.

The 79th Supervisors conference starts tomorrow and runs through June 19. Meeting planner Martele Higgins said in addition to business meetings, "We're going to be doing things like fishing and golfing. This is the supervisors' family vacation every year."

She expects 2,000 people, including about 350 of the state's 410 supervisors, along with other county officials and their families. The trade show with 200 exhibits is open all day Wednesday and educational sessions are scheduled Wednesday and Thursday.

U.S. Congressman Bennie Thompson is the keynote speaker for the opening session of 77th annual Mississippi Municipal League Conference. Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hoseman will present a report on elections, 16th Section land reform and and economic development and the National League of Cities President Cynthia McCollum, a council member in Madison, Ala., will speak during the Excellence Awards dinner.

Financial and economic development topics dominate the educational sessions June 24 and 25. Mayors, aldermen, city council members and other officials will learn about programs for financing housing, grant writing, insurance, lowering a fire rating, redevelopment opportunities and how festivals provide economic growth.

Except when the conference was moved to Tunica in 2006 after Hurricane Katrina, the Municipal League has met on the Coast for about 50 years, said Deputy Director Shari Veazey.

"We love the Coast because it can accommodate a big group," and she said there isn't anywhere else in the state that has the combination of convention space, banquet facilities and hotel rooms for the 3,000 people who attend.


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Copyright (c) 2008, The Sun Herald, Biloxi, Miss.

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