The Joint Legislative Committee on Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review (PEER Committee) issued the report in light of budgetary concerns that included:
Tunica County revenues declined because of declining gaming fee expenses, falling 26 percent between 2013 and 2018. The county received 62 percent of its revenues during the same span from gaming fees.
The county has six casinos, down from a high of nine in 2014.
The report says there are also problems with the way the county spends taxpayer funds.
The board has an arrangement with the North Delta Regional Housing Authority on a program to build and rehabilitate homes in the county for the elderly and handicapped, but had no signed contract either between the NDRHA and the county.
The county later moved all administrative and operational responsibilities for the program to the non-profit Tunica County Housing Inc. in 2014.
The board voted to appropriate $1.6 million from county taxpayers to the organization, with no supporting documentation on how the funds were expended or whether any work. The Tunica County Housing Inc., which was involved in the program, spent 41 percent of its budget ($681,000) provided by taxpayers on administrative costs.
The Better Business Bureau and the Charities Review Council both agree that administrative costs shouldn’t exceed 35 percent for a grant-issuing organization.
The county’s attorney, John Keith Perry Jr., blasted the report in his response letter that PEER includes from examined agency or subdivision.
He said that county officials only had two “small windows of four hours” to review and respond to the PEER report, less than what had been given to other agencies in the past. He also accused PEER of being focused on “a few hot-button issues of a political nature.”
He also said the county reserves the right to do a more thorough response when allowed to study the full and final report.