New report says Tunica County overspent by millions

WATCH: New report says Tunica County overspent by millions

TUNICA, Co. — A new report shows that from 2013 to August 2019 the Tunica County Board of Supervisors overspent by approximately $4.3 million.

Mississippi’s Joint Legislative Committee on Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Reviews, also known as PEER, looks into spending by other agencies to help provide oversight.

Their latest report dove into how Tunica county is handling its money.

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“One of the most serious findings was that the county was spending more money than it receives. It is engaging in deficit spending, which is contrary to state law,” said James Barber.

PEER executive director James Barber told FOX13 that the Tunica County Board of Supervisors went against the state law on multiple occasions.

“They have also moved money from the road fund to the general fund, which is contrary to the state law… but again they have a deficit in their residual in their account, so they are robbing Peter to pay Paul,” said Barber.

According to Barber, the report has gone further than the committee.

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“We have some concerns and issues that we plan to refer to the state auditor. I have already had some contact with the audit staff, and we will be referring those issues to them… which I believe they will follow up on.”

Barber didn’t go into detail about those issues and only said that they were things PEER could not address.

“We have concerns that were not included in the report that we think the audit office, which uses investigators, should take a look at,” said Barber.

The report said in April 2018 the county moved $5 million from the road fund to its general fund.

And the county is pushing back on the whole notion of the investigation.

County Attorney John Keith Perry told FOX13 that the county has done nothing wrong in the way it has acted fiscally.

“You have to do it in a way that meets the reality of the way any money was moved from the road fund. It was done in a way as an inner fund loan,” said Perry.

Perry said the whole reason for PEER looking into Tunica County Board if Supervisors is politically motivated.

“I don’t think there is an entity that receives more calls from the county government or from the board and administration and myself asking for guidance, and they know Tunica County tried to get things right,” said Perry.

He said it all stared when the county asked for a fee on gaming machines at the casinos and somebody at the state level didn’t like it.

Perry said the report is nothing more than a bunch of suggestions on how the county can do things better.