SOUTHAVEN, MS (abc24.com) - Southaven's city leaders will meet Tuesday, November 15, 2011, for the first time since the state auditor launched an investigation into Mayor Greg Davis' spending habits.
The state wants to know how $130,000 of city money was spent. That money is part of Southaven's tourism and travel budget. City leaders will introduce a new law putting stricter controls on how it's used.
The mayor and board of aldermen meet at 6:00 p.m. One of the main topics will be a new travel policy.
"We're just following guidelines set by the state auditor," says Southaven Alderman Ronnie Hale. "We're just making any and all changes required to keep everybody happy and to make sure we're spending the money wisely."
Hale will be one of those voting on the city's new travel policy Tuesday night.
"All elected officials will have to have prior approval for any travel," he says, "any expenses. It will be voted on by the board and be in the minutes prior to our travel. Basically, all it's going to be is the changes we've made in dealing with some past issues."
The issues were brought forth by a recent state investigation into how the city's tourism and travel budget is spent. Almost $130,000 is in question. Mayor Davis is the man now responsible for coming up with receipts for tens of thousands spent on airfare, hotel stays and dinners.
Since the state investigation launched in April, the board of alderman made informal changes to how city money is spent.
"You must have detailed receipts," says Hale, "including the purpose of the trip and just a lot more information. Most of the stuff must also be approved prior to the trip."
Tuesday night, those changes will be passed into law, with all city travel approved at least two weeks in advance.
"We now have that extra step built in that any travel at all has to be approved prior as opposed to after the fact," says Hale.
If passed, the new travel policy will go into effect immediately.
Mayor Davis says he's accounted for about $53,000 of the $130,000 in question. Davis has until the beginning of December to get the receipts together to explain to the state how all of that money was spent.